Bikers taunt Wash. trooper who wrecked

Trooper Brian Salyer was treated for traumatic head injuries and a laceration to an artery in his neck before being released from hospital

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.

“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 at Large for PoliceOne, providing police training content on a wide range of topics and trends affecting the law enforcement community. Doug is the 2014 Western Publishing Association "Maggie Award" winner for Best Regularly Featured Digital Edition Column, and has authored more than 1,000 articles and tactical tips. Doug hosts the PoliceOne Podcast, Policing Matters, and is the host for PoliceOne Video interviews. Doug is a member of International Law Enforcement Educators and Trainers Association (ILEETA), an Associate Member of the California Peace Officers' Association (CPOA), and a member of the Public Safety Writers Association (PSWA).

Contact Doug Wyllie

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