Behind the Springs podcast: This episode could save your life

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We’re getting a little more serious than usual to talk about the high number of traffic fatalities in Colorado Springs, and what our police officers identify as the major reasons. Listen to some frightening stories and life-saving tips from the lead of the Major Crash Team, Sgt. Jim Stinson. Jen and Ted will help provide you with a new appreciation for our police officers, the opportunity to reflect on your own driving habits and the chance to be more aware and ARRIVE ALIVE!

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Episode transcript

Intro: (00:00)
Behind the Springs. Is that really allowed Dana debris in Turkey? Yeah. Wow. You can check it or carry it on. Okay. Yeah. In your bag. All right. An inside, look at your local government. It's got like salmonella written all over it. Colorado Springs, nearly 500,000 people, Olympic city, USA, garden of the gods, Pike's peak. It's a growing city. Our local government has a lot of employees. What does Tesla do? They do, how does it impact my life? This is where you find out. Behind the Springs and inside look at your local government.

Jen: (00:36)
Running red lights, distracted driving, road rage, speeding.

Ted: (00:41)
These are just a few of the driving behaviors that you've probably witnessed.

Jen: (00:45)
They're also some of the reasons for record traffic fatalities in our city in recent years along with hundreds of injuries. We're fortunate to have a great group of Colorado Springs police officers called the major crash team who make this problem a priority and we're lucky to be joined today by a Sergeant Jim Stinson of the major crash team at CSPD, which is Colorado Springs police department and thanks so much for joining us. Sorry. We appreciate it.

Jim: (01:11)
Thanks for having me. I appreciate it.

Jen: (01:12)
And we want to talk a little bit about the major crash team because people may think they know what that entails, but I'm not sure if they do. Um, so if you can talk a little bit about what your team does and um, you know, let's start by getting to know you a bit. Have you been with the police department for awhile?

Jim: (01:27)
I've been there for a few weeks. January, it'll be 30 years.

Jen: (01:31)
Oh my goodness. Yeah, you got a little tiny bit of experience.

Jim: (01:35)
Yeah. Of started back in 1990. I, um, was a cop down South for about six years before I came up here and, uh, was in patrol and did homicide for a while, did juvenile crimes for a while and uh, got promoted about eight or nine years ago. And, and, uh, four years ago I started supervising the major crash team as well as a registered sex offender unit. Um, I'm fortunate to have, uh, I think seven best detectives between the two units and the entire department. So,

Jen: (02:05)
so you are not, um, someone, whoever has a lot of downtime at work, I would imagine.

Jim: (02:09)
it gets pretty busy. Yeah.

Jen: (02:12)
So what is the major crash team do?

Jim: (02:15)
We respond to all fatal traffic crashes? We don't call them accidents, we call them crashes. Um, accident. The term accident kind of implies that you're a victim of, of sorts, but crashes there. There's somebody that's in that is at fault here. So the whole state is going to that term. Anyway, We, we uh, respond all fatal traffic crashes, any traffic crash that involves a felony. Uh, for example, a service, serious bodily injury and the driver's drunk, the driver that caused the wreck is drunk. Um, and not his serious bottle, his or her serious bodily injury. They, it's to somebody else. And then, um, any crash that might involve high liability for the city, Colorado Springs or respond to that. And then my detectives are very technical in their investigations. They have technical expertise. So any, um, crash that a patrol officer feels they need technical expertise to help them. We'll come out on that or any other unit. Like, if homicide has a, an extended scene, we'll come out and help them with scene, uh, diagrams. And what,

Jen: (03:23)
so you guys are the reason that the highways are the, the roads closed down for all that.

Ted: (03:28)
Yup.

Jim: (03:28)
Well, we're not the reason why.

Ted: (03:31)
You're responding

Jen: (03:32)
that investigation. You know, some people are saying, Oh, this is taking forever for this road to open. Why, why, why? And that is because when there is a serious injury or, or fatality or some of those situations you described, it takes a lot of [inaudible] time, right?

Jim: (03:43)
Correct, it's, it's a, it's a felony that we're investigating, but not only that is, um, responsible as the scene supervisor to ensure the safety of all the detectives and officers that are out there. And if we're allowing cars to drive through, we're gonna add to the problem by getting one of us hit. And, um, just the other night we were out on a scene and a driver drove the wrong way down the street because they said they were confused by all this, the lights. And if we weren't paying attention, we would've been easily run over.

Jen: (04:14)
Oh my goodness.

Jim: (04:15)
Yeah. So we, we tried to block, we want to make sure that the streets are still being used at as much as we can, but our priority right then is the investigation and our safety.

Ted: (04:26)
We've seen stats over the past few years, a sad record breaking stacks of, uh, of fatalities and whatnot. Um, how many of these traffic fatalities are you going out to each year?

Jim: (04:37)
Well, last year we set a record in the city and is 48. Um, this year, right now we're at 38 and we still have two months to go. Um, we had 104 call-outs, emergency call outs for my unit last year. And right now we're at 105, so we've already surpassed the number of call outs last year. We're just, uh, have fewer deaths so far, but unfortunately, um, I know we're gonna have more. Um, but we've in, in my time there, each year we've, we've steadily increased our numbers. We're, uh, traditionally second in the state with, with fatal members each year behind Denver. And El Paso County is traditionally the lead County and fatalities, uh, in the, in the entire state.

Jen: (05:23)
And I think people listening may be saying, Oh, that's really too bad for those people. That's sad for all those people that that's happening too. And it's easy to remove yourself from those statistics in that situation. But these are drivers that were all out there on the roads with, um, whether we're being perfect drivers or not. And there's really no such thing as a perfect driver. We're all a little bit guilty of doing those things. Can you talk about what you can at least somewhat assess as the, as the causes of these accident or I'm sorry, crashes.

Jim: (05:54)
Some of the guys I work with think I'm uniquely qualified to this because I grew up and learned to drive in Texas. Everybody says everything about Texas drivers. However, in my experience, um, it's not just people from Texas, it's around the group got proof of that.

Ted: (06:09)
I'm married to one.

Jim: (06:10)
A Texan?

Ted: (06:12)
Yeah.

Jim: (06:13)
Congratulations. Um, probably the, the biggest cause of our, our fatal crashes is speed. Um, people just in a hurry to, to go places. I think education, learning how to drive them. Back when I was a young kid, a long time ago, I learned to drive all my education was through high school at a semester of, of just the book learning and then a semester behind the wheel driving during high school with other kids. And that's not happening anymore. And I think a lot of times we're to, we're supposed to have parents that are out teaching kids how to drive with sometimes those parents don't know how to drive either and not very well anyway. I don't want to blanket, you know, do a blanket statement. Nobody knows how to drive. But in my line of work, I've seen a lot of poor driving. We hope that some of the schools teach the kids how to drive some of the private driving schools and they do a good job. But it's what's the followup? So when a 15 year old, uh, goes to that training and then three months, four months, six months later, they go for their driver's license. They've had six months where they're not driving unless their parents are helping them. Sometimes they are, sometimes they're not. Sometimes the, it's the older brother or sister that are helping and bad habits learn that way or get taught that way. It's, I have nothing to base this on. It's just my thought. I think people are learning how to drive on video games and they're seeing, they're playing these video games where they can just push a reset button and they're alive again. And that's not how life works right now. Um, the speeds on these games are ridiculous and so is you see kids out here and they'll get a car that's eight years old, but it's still something with the souped up engine. They're driving way faster than they should and then the recs and it's not just kids, it's, it's adults too.

Jen: (08:03)
So one of the things pretty fast moving these days. Yeah, absolutely. Get there. Gotta hurry.

Ted: (08:08)
I think another thing, a work as a communications guy for city council, so we get complaints of all sorts. Um, one of them being, uh, racing. Um, is that something that you've seen an uptick in and an uptick in, uh, in awful crashes?

Jim: (08:25)
Well, the, the term racing is, is, um, from a legal standpoint, it's hard to prove and, but speed contests, whatever you want to call it, exactly what everyone call it. you see on Academy on Friday and Saturday nights there, there's just up and down. And that's why we people want to have green lights all the way through. But if we do that, then the cars are really going to be going past, cause they know they don't have to stop. Yep. So we gotta be careful with that. Uh, last year of our 48 deaths, if remember correctly, 16 of them happened on Academy.

Jen: (08:57)
So you all spend a lot of time out on Academy?

Jim: (08:59)
Yeah. Yeah. And it hasn't been as bad this year, but we've had several.

Jen: (09:03)
Well, so, um, what, can you, can you talk a little bit about, I know when people think of traffic safety and they think of slowing down and all that, they've heard a lot about the red light cameras. Um, can you talk about that and how it relates and so how it's helped, I know there's not specific measurements yet at this point. They're still pretty new, but, right.

Jim: (09:20)
So this program, the red light program, a camera program, I'm sorry, it's been going on since April, so about six months. And in that time we've had 5,000 around 5,000 violations. So, and it's just for three intersections right now. So it's a problem. And, and you know, people have accused us of, we're trying to do a money grab, trying to, to raise revenue and there's nothing better for us if we could have zero violations and no money on this. But as far as making a difference, I, I'm hoping it does. We, we can't tell what it prevents in the future if it doesn't happen. Just the anecdotal evidence of saying that I haven't been out on Academy as many times this year. Uh, fingers crossed that, that, I mean there's one at Academy and carefree, which is an intersection that has had a lot of problems for us in the last three years that we've only been out on twice this year.

Jen: (10:11)
So you're willing to do whatever it takes to help them. Anything will help.

Jim: (10:14)
I mean, we have other programs, our um, motorcycle unit so far this year, they've written over 16,000 tickets.

Ted: (10:21)
Wow. They got me. Did they? Yeah. Yeah. I haven't spent since. Oh yeah, yeah. No, no. Actually after that happened to kind of knocks you back into, into reality, but, uh,

Jen: (10:31)
to look at your own behavior, what am I doing wrong?

Ted: (10:34)
I just a little late getting to getting to work and then I was pushing it and going down Centennial and uh, and there they were.

Jim: (10:41)
So have you gone to court on that yet? Cause I did a confession right here.

Ted: (10:45)
No, I did go to court and I, I knew that I messed up, so I wasn't one of those people go, Oh, hi. You know, and I just gave the officer all my information, everything. And then they noted it down that I cooperated. And so the judge showed me a little, a little leeway on the fine cause I hadn't had a speeding ticket in a few years. So

Jim: (11:08)
I appreciate that because anytime I'm at a social gathering, a party or whatnot. And of course I'm introduces, this is Jim, he's a cop and it's like, Oh great.

Jen: (11:18)
And they got plenty to tell you.

Jim: (11:20)
And that's the first story I hear while I got pulled over by speeding or for speeding by this, you know, this dumb cop and he did this and then I'm like, well let's look at why you got pulled over. You know, and how many times have you sped that you didn't get caught. Yeah. You know, so you looking at your behavior, that's what we're looking for. Um, how we're attacking the traffic safety is we want to look at our engineering, the engineering of the roads. We've been working with Todd Frisbee, who's at the, the traffic engineering and we're starting a program now. When we go out on our call outs, we're looking to see if there's any engineering issues that may have been a part into this wreck. And if there is, then we'll, we'll contact Todd and we'll work on getting that fixed than we do education. So that's part of what you had was some education. The cop gives you a ticket and let you know you're speeding and you can kind of this, this podcast right here is education. Right. You know, and then, and then the other, the other portion is enforcement.

Ted: (12:19)
Yeah. Right. Well, luckily I didn't have one of the, you know, the old movie liar, liar situations where, uh, he did say, you know, do you know why I'm pulling you over? And luckily I didn't go, well it was the red light that I ran back there. But, um,

Jen: (12:32)
I got a long list buddy.

Ted: (12:34)
No, it was just the, just the speeding. I promised that time and it wasn't, it wasn't too bad. It was, I think I was 11 over. So one the, they dropped the speed on, on Centennial for that reason, for safety.

Jen: (12:46)
And, uh, and sometimes people aren't paying attention. So I think when we come back from a break, let's talk a little bit more about that, the different ways you can be distracted and what can you do to improve? Yeah,

Ted: (12:55)
yeah. Let's get some of your big tips. Oh yeah.

Break: (12:58)
Hope you're enjoying this episode of behind the Springs. Jen and Ted are just scratching the surface when it comes to all the things you need to know about your local government. Stay connected with us on social media at city of cos. Check out our website coloradosprings.gov to stay up to date. Now back to the show.

Jen: (13:18)
So another question I would like to ask, um, you Sergeant Stinson is just, um, to get a little bit more into, um, you know, the fact that you and your team are going out on all these traffic fatalities, um, and really probably I would assume traumatic and terrible scenes. Um, you know, how do you, um, process it? How do you support one another through that?

Jim: (13:42)
Yes, you're correct. They are traumatic. And in gruesome, um, we had one earlier this year where the closing speed between the two vehicles was about 140 miles an hour. Human beings don't come out of collisions like that very well. So with the carnage that we've seen is unimaginable. Um, I think we talked about that last year actually. Um, so we use humor. We try not to personalize these, the scenes. Everybody in my unit with exception of one has kids. So, uh, any call with a kid is, is of course really tough on us. But we, they're professionals. And, uh, we, we do our job, we separate ourselves from, from the human tragedy of it all and, and get into the technical aspects of the wreck to investigate it. Now that another tough part is, and, and one of the things I'm very proud of with, with the detectives is, uh, we're very sensitive to the needs of the families and, and we don't care if the person who is killed is the one at fault. That doesn't matter to us because that's somebody's son, daughter, brother, father, mother, sister, whatever. It's a love a family member that's loved. And so we, we do our best to be sensitive to their needs to their, um, wants. Um, one of the things that's different with our kinds of investigations other than like homicide when I was in homicide, that's a criminal matter and we have the, the legality of the, of the wreck itself, you know, who was at fault and whatnot. But then we also have the civil aspect of it. So we have to work with civil attorneys, with insurance companies. So it's, it's almost like two investigations are going on at once. So it's these guys are hard workers. I don't know when I retire I may be curled up in a ball for the first two years crying. Yeah, we'll see.

Jen: (15:38)
I hope not. But you support one another and I imagined that the police department offers counseling as well when that's needed.

Jim: (15:44)
Absolutely.

Jen: (15:44)
Yeah. And then, um, you know, you talked about the technical aspect of investigating that scene. And so it is critical for them to be for Heschel because the things that they are finding out are what, I mean, what are you looking for when you're on scene?

Jim: (15:59)
So we're looking for Le, well, I'll give you an instance of a hit and run. Um, it was probably the second, now I don't have a background in an accident and crash investigations like my detectives to do. Um, um, I'm fortunate, you know, as a supervisor you want to surround yourself with the best piece of best people possible. And I, I've done that. So sitting there and watching these guys work, it's, it's amazing. And uh, one of the first wrecks that I went out on was a hit and run where a pedestrian was killed. And, and one of my detectives was, it was in January, so it was probably 10 degrees out in the middle of the night and it was in a dark area. And my detective is on his hands and knees looking for microscopic chips of paint. And with that he was able to find some, we were able to determine the color of the car. And within a week we're able to identify the driver and the driver's incarcerated right now because of this. So these guys are looking for, uh, paint chips, looking for scuff marks from tires, from bottoms of shoes, where with the advent of videos, it's been phenomenal lately. Getting dash cams, getting a doorbell ringer cams and, um, they can take a strip of footage with just a vehicle driving by and with their magic they can, uh, figure out how fast the cars going. We had a wreck earlier this year where we can determine speeds that the vehicles were driving a mile from the scene and, and show that they've run a red light and are going at these astronomical speeds and all from just a little strip of video. So,

Ted: (17:35)
well, is that a tip that you'd give people to, is, uh, kinda help the city out, help everybody, uh, and safety and driving, maybe look into getting a dash cam or even the dash and the camera that shoots behind you too. Um, or do you think it helps that much?

Jim: (17:52)
Oh, it helps. It helps us. But I don't know how expensive it is. I don't have one. I don't, what I'm scared of is if they get a video camera that they have a viewfinder. And so now they're sitting there driving down the street looking at it.

Jen: (18:05)
Yeah. So which brings us to distracted driving.

Ted: (18:07)
Great segue.

Jen: (18:10)
Um, we were talking about how there's different, I think people think, Oh, I'm not texting, you know, the whole time I'm driving, so I'm good. But there are other ways to be distracted.

Jim: (18:18)
Right. Um, one of the things with the texting is, it's funny that people, some of the people who are the most definitive by other people driving and texting drive texts themselves because they know how to do it, whereas the other people don't. And, and I think that's a problem with driving in our community as a whole, is that everybody else's to blame, um, the perfect.

Speaker 2: (18:41)
But when it comes to distractions, it's not just texting, it's the, I mean if you drive down the street at night, you can see videos or not video screens. But um, in the, in the dashboard of these cars now it has the little command center, those screens and, and people are paying attention to that or people are paying attention. The kids that are in the back yelling and screaming, so they're turn around and trying to hand them the past fire. Whatever's fallen down, they're eating their hamburgers. I've seen reading newspapers, I've seen cameras where people are watching videos as they're driving down the street. It's, Oh my goodness. People are forgetting that their priority of driving down the street is to do so safely. Yeah.

Jim: (19:19)
So is it, is it okay to text when you're at a red light?

Jim: (19:23)
Yes. Okay. When you're, when you're stopped. Yes.

Ted: (19:27)
Yeah. Yeah. That was one thing. I've always wondered what I would [inaudible] yeah. Then you start, you know, it turns green. Then you're like, Oh, I can, let me just finish this as I start. Yeah. Better.

Jim: (19:39)
Or what if you just sent it and now the answer comes back. And so for what we say is the phone in the back and that takes away all your, your distractions, it takes away the temptation to do it.

Jen: (19:49)
And another thing that you know, you need to keep in mind, I know as a parent is you're, you're not just, um, you know, keeping everyone safe and doing what you're doing. You're modeling as well.

Jim: (19:58)
Absolutely, yep. You're the teacher.

Jen: (20:00)
Yeah. So keep that in mind. So, um, I wanted to talk to about one more campaign that you, that you all have a called slow down Colorado Springs and that's, is that a ticketing campaign? Basically?

Jim: (20:10)
It's called the [inaudible]. The whole term of slow down Colorado Springs. It's still the law. It's a partnership with C. dot. Uh, it's grant funded and it's specifically for speeding. And so they're in each division. There's four police divisions in the S in the city. Each division there's been 10 intersections that have been identified as the top accident areas, top intersections where there's been accidents. And so these, um, this program will hire cops off their regular duty, so extra, extra duty overtime. Correct. And they're specifically sent to that location to run, to run traffic and do speeding enforcement. And it's been going on for and for a little over a year and theirs were averaging about 200 tickets a month.

Jen: (21:00)
Amazing. So another, another example of you don't quite know what you're preventing, but you're hoping that you're doing some good

Jim: (21:05)
and another program where we'd love to have zero tickets a month. Right? It's, it's just not happening.

Ted: (21:11)
Right. Well, and I think one of the big, again, complaints that have come into city council are all over the place. Uh, no matter what it is. But, uh, a main complaint that we've seen over there is speeding. And I think this was, uh, you know, one of those kinds of direct responses to a, uh, community outrage or, or a interest into, uh, seeing if we can curb this, this fiasco. We got rated. What was it, 16th worst driving city? Did you see that? It wasn't the Gazette, uh, a week or two ago. But, um,

Jen: (21:41)
I think most people, I would hope, I don't know, obviously most people aren't, but I think a lot of people should and hopefully will be outraged, you know, when they're hearing about this and when they're become more familiar with it, assuming that they are having the correct reaction and feeling like, wow, this is a serious problem. What can they do if they're trying not to be a distracted driver and not speed, like Ted said, Oh man, I need to look at my own behaviors. Slow down. What can we do to be defensive drivers? Um,

Jim: (22:10)
well I th I thought you said it well, it's, this isn't a government problem. It's not a police officer problem. It's a community problem. Yep. So we have to hold ourselves accountable. And we have, for me, we do this in police work all the time, mental preparedness. So what we're trained to do is, is, well, I'll just give you an example for me, when I was working midnight shift, I'd drive down the street and you know, there's LOLs and the inactivity. So I'm just driving around, patrolling and as I'm driving down the street, I'll drive by a convenience store and I'm thinking, if that store got robbed right now, how would I respond? And so, you know, I'd say, well, the guy comes right out this way, I'd do this. Or if he goes that way, I'll do that on the off chance that it happens, then I don't have to think, I just react the same way with driving. If you're driving down the street, expect the person pulling up to the stop sign to run the stop sign. If that person does, then are you going to go to the left? Go to the right. You're going to stop. If you're driving defensively, which is a term I rarely hear anymore. Uh, if you drive defensively, you can avoid a lot of these words

Jen: (23:11)
expect the worst in people in this, in this situation.

Jim: (23:14)
No, no, I know it's a cynical way to think, but it keeps you alive. Yeah.

Ted: (23:19)
[inaudible] yeah. Well, and yeah, I kind of have your, uh, uh, your escape routes known, I think is where you're going.

Jen: (23:25)
And then the other thing is when they do run the stop sign, don't get ticked off about it. Yeah. I mean that's important too. Cause we've heard a lot of [inaudible] road rage, which is this, which is crazy. And people joke about it cause it can be kind of nutty and, but it can also be really dangerous. Right, right.

Jim: (23:42)
Don't, don't take somebody else's goofy driving personally. They're not doing it against you or doing it against all of us actually. But life is too precious to be worrying about stuff like that. You know?

Ted: (23:54)
And it's probably bad for your own, just like general health. Even if you're not trying to drive back and cut that guy off ulcers, then you're just a, you're getting your heart rate up and

Jim: (24:04)
yeah. And it's a lot like, uh, any kind of sporting event. The first person who does it gets away with it. It's the second person who's speeding up to, you know, do whatever hand gesture that's gonna get pulled over and

Jen: (24:16)
keeps you, um, motivated and going in your job. Since it is such a difficult and you know, some of these statistics are sad and discouraging sometimes. How do you stay positive and motivated?

Jim: (24:28)
Things like this. Um, you know, so when I was in homicide, what I learned in my time in homicide is that the majority of people who are in that situation are living a high risk lifestyle. So the job I'm in now with these crashes or anybody can be a victim. And so I feel that if, if I'm out here doing educational things, doing enforcement things, we can prevent that. One of my biggest fears is I have a son who's, who's a young driver and he has, uh, a semi hot rod type car. I'm always scared that that phone call in the middle of night waking me up to go on a call is going to be him, you know, and, and, and, or another kid I know or somebody I know. And, and fortunately I haven't had that happen to me yet, but I'm just doing anything to prevent somebody else from magazines are all preventable. We don't have to have 48 people this year at 38 people so far. We don't have to have these people die and, and through education and enforcement and all that, this is in my police career of 37 years or so. This is a job where we can, or I can actually make a difference. So it's kind of a selfish thing. But

Jen: (25:43)
no, that's a good selfish.

Ted: (25:45)
anecdotally, um, you know, without real real stats in, in front of you. Um, over your time, you said 37 years over your time too and, and major crashes. Um, yes, they are. All are all preventable. Are most of them in your mind because of impairment? Because of a speed speed not wearing a seatbelt. So something like that or, or is it kind of a mix of, uh, yeah, it was just bad driving and a couple of people hit each other. Yeah. What do you think? Put argue all your examples are? I think it'll hit them all. Yeah.

Jim: (26:20)
Um, speeding seems to be the worst impairment. Right now we're, we're always averaging around 50% of our fatal crashes or impairments involve, which is higher than the, than the national standard, which is a roughly 29% so it's frustrating. It all can't be be prevented. But speeding impairment, distraction are the big ones.

Jen: (26:46)
Yeah. And all preventable. Yup.

Ted: (26:49)
Take an Uber or a taxi or.

Jen: (26:51)
saying the same thing over and over, but.

Jim: (26:53)
and be accountable. Know that you're, even though we don't want to say it, and I'll say it about myself too, I'm part of the problem because I do some of these things as well. Yeah. And I need to get better at that. We all need to get better. We need to look ourselves in the mirror because it's horrible. The thought of, of being killed in a wreck or when your loved ones being killed in a wreck. But it's almost as horrible to be the one responsible for killing somebody else because you're not paying attention. And even even, we've had examples of people who were paying attention and they still were involved and they weren't that fault driver and somebody else was killed. And the effect on the rest of their lives. I mean it's, it's horrible. Yeah. Yeah. You know, that type of thing.

Jen: (27:43)
That's not your fault technically, but someone is still loses their life.

Jim: (27:46)
And that's example I was thinking of too. It was, it was somebody driving down the street and in a inebriated pedestrian walked out in front. And that's another thing we haven't really talked about. We're, we're talking about cars, cars, cars, motorcycles, bicycles, pedestrians, um, pedestrians walking around with their heads down, looking at their phone and just walk out of the expect the crosswalk.

Speaker 2: (28:09)
They, you know, they expect the cars to stop and they're not, but they're not paying attention cause they're texting or, so it's the same thing there where you've got to have all the different scenarios. Okay, what do I do if this person does continue to turn in? And for me, I won't cross the street unless I have eye contact with whatever drivers close by. So if I'm at an intersection, the crosswalk turns on and I can go, I'm looking for whoever is about to turn right and make sure they see me. Now, if they don't and they run me over where they're at fault, but I'm the one in the hospital or the morgue. So I always make sure that I have eye contact. Same thing with, uh, riding a bicycle. Uh, it's convenient to ride a bike and just kind of run through a stop sign because you know, there's no cars coming, but man, sometimes there is a car and the one time it is, you're going to lose that battle.

Jen: (28:57)
Yup. And as a driver, you gotta be looking out for pedestrians. And a lot of people don't do that when they're turning right, or they're in a school zone or whatever it is. Right.

Ted: (29:04)
Bike riders. Yeah.

Jim: (29:05)
Any of that motorcyclists I tell you, um, I don't ride motorcycles. Uh, I don't blame you. They look fun. They do that. I can, I can envision me with what hair I had left. Right. And you know, flowing in the wind and bugs in my teeth and everything. But the vast, and I mean that's majority of the motorcyclist killed. They're at fault. Yeah. Because they're speeding. And that's what gets us the speed. These, these, uh, motorcycles that are being produced now are just crazy fast. Yeah. And a lot of people can go in there and pay the money, get the keys and turn around, drive them off without going through any training and not knowing, you know, how to drive a motorcycle. Used to see the training our motorcycle officers go through. It's phenomenal. It's, it's a week long course, sometimes. Two weeks in is they're constantly training. Every week they're training on how to ride those motorcycles. And, um, but the average Joe on the street, they don't do that. A lot of times it has fatal consequences.

Ted: (30:07)
So I think our number one thing that we've gotten out of today is education from a young age. If you have a young kids that are just starting to get their learner's permit, starting to drive, uh, make sure they're taking a course, uh, uh, make sure that you as the parents are teaching them as well. Um, like we were talking about off the break a of course that I had taken and it actually drops your insurance, uh, amount because you, you passed a course. Um, they still remember it still. So it's, yeah. And, and one of the things I had brought up was a video that they show of going the exact same route. One person speeding the other person's going the speed limit, and it was maybe mere seconds that the speeding one got there faster. But it's like at the end of the day, what does that matter? If you're late to work, you're late to work. Saving an extra minute isn't, isn't gonna make your boss any happier. So, uh,

Jim: (30:58)
when you're talking, when, one of the things I wanted to say too, when you're talking about parents helping the kids learn how to drive, I wouldn't limit it and I didn't with my son limited to just my viewpoint and my wife's viewpoint. I had had other friends drive with them too. That way, they're not as, you know, stressed because it's their dad, you know, sitting there looking at them, especially your dad, the cop [inaudible] somebody else and, and learn from other people as well. Yeah.

Jen: (31:24)
And you gave me, you gave me a good tip a long time ago, um, because, um, I had a daughter who wasn't driving yet and said, you know, even before your kids drive, to have them be kind of your lookout, um, so that they can start envisioning what it's going to be like to drive, you know, can you be my extra set of eyes and let me know what's going on in this neighborhood? And sometimes, you know, um, they're able to say, Oh, here comes a ball out in the street from that kid. And that, that gets them kind of trained to being more aware.

Jim: (31:52)
We added a program years ago in the department called stay alert, stay alive. And that's it right there. If you're alert and you're paying attention to your surroundings and you're not, uh, you know, have your nose into a phone or whatever, that's how you stay alive. Yeah.

Jen: (32:06)
Thank you for these great tips and for all that you do.

Jim: (32:09)
Well, it's my pleasure. It's my honor. It's a honor to serve out here and then all the police officers on our department feel that way. This is a great city. And, and um, I know we all enjoy working here and we just, we want to make a positive impact on the, on the society here.

Ted: (32:28)
Yeah. It's an honor for us to have had you on and it's honor for the city to have you with all of your experience as well and.

Jen: (32:34)
get in your car and drive safely. Where are you seatbelt? That was, I think the other thing we didn't really was

Ted: (32:39)
a wear your seatbelt because any accident can become fatal if you're, if you're not, uh, any, any parting words for us?

Jim: (32:47)
Um, you know, I, I rarely sleep through the night anymore and I would, I'd like to get back to sleep and do the night. So if, if we can, uh, curtail these wrecks and these fatalities, that'd be awesome for me. I'd appreciate that main goal making makes get life easier.

Ted: (33:04)
Get started since in a little bit of extra room. Yeah, there you go. All right, well, thank you very much.

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