Because of budget cuts, not every trooper in Washington State has a dash cam in his vehicle. Trooper Brian Salyer, a 22-year veteran, is among those who was without this vital technology at a critical moment. Salyer encountered a group of motorcyclists — increasingly brazen in their driving because they know a single patrol car is no match for their high-speed bikes — driving at more than 100 mph on Interstate 5. He was trying to ID the lead biker when two others cut him off, forcing the car to roll over five times before landing on its wheels on the median. While Salyer lay injured and bleeding in the wrecked vehicle, two of the bikers stopped, walked back to the scene, and taunted him.
Fire crews soon arrived, were able to cut Salyer free from the vehicle, and transport him to a nearby hospital, where he was treated for traumatic head injuries and a laceration to an artery in his neck. He was later released and is said to be recovering at home.
According to Tulsa Police Captain and PoliceOne Columnist Travis Yates, the incident involving Trooper Salyer is another reminder that even in times of economic distress, it is a mistake to cut funding for training and technology.
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“This is a reminder that cowardly men lay in wait to prey on America’s finest,” Yates told PoliceOne. “We must continue our vigilance in attention, communication, training, and technology if we are to overcome this brazen attitude that is displayed against our officers each day. History tells us that higher crime is in direct correlation with economic drops and it is then that we must maintain our commitment to providing those who stand in the gap between good and evil the safest environment that we can.”
In a squad car, providing the safest environment possible includes the installation of an in-car video system. While it is unknown if this specific incident involved a lack of training, Yates also shared his overall concerns on that important issue.
“The common attitude is that when agencies suffer financially, we cut training. Many administrators show by their actions that training their officers is a nonessential. If anything, in times of financial distress, we increase training. That is how we combat a more empowered, capable criminal,” Yates said.
Investigators are still searching for the outlaw bikers who caused the incident, a job made much more difficult, says Trooper Cliff Pratt, by the absence of that in-car video system. Had Salyer had such as system in his cruiser, he could simply have captured images of the license plates, motorcycle club patches, and other information, Pratt told CNN in the below video clip.
About the author
Doug Wyllie is Editor in Chief of PoliceOne, responsible for setting the editorial direction of the website and managing the planned editorial features by our roster of expert writers. In addition to his editorial and managerial responsibilities, Doug has authored more than 700 feature articles and tactical tips on a wide range of topics and trends that affect the law enforcement community. Doug is a member of International Law Enforcement Educators and Trainers Association (ILEETA), and an Associate Member of the California Peace Officers' Association. He is also a member of the Public Safety Writers Association, and is a two-time (2011 and 2012) Western Publishing Association "Maggie Award" Finalist in the category of Best Regularly Featured Digital Edition Column. Even in his "spare" time, he is active in his support for the law enforcement community, contributing his time and talents toward police-related charitable events as well as participating in force-on-force training, search-and-rescue training, and other scenario-based training designed to prepare cops for the fight they face every day on the street.
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