St. Louis Police Department Addresses Increase in Accidents

According to the St. Louis Police Department, there has not been a significant rise in accidents involving their officers. This statement was made at a recent Board of Aldermen meeting, where Major Janice Bockstruck, commander of the Bureau of Specialized Enforcement for SLMPD, spoke about the department’s accident statistics.

Steady Number of Accidents

Bockstruck informed the aldermen that the police department typically averages 100 to 150 crashes per year. She also noted that there has been an increase in the number of photos of these accidents being shared, but the actual number of accidents has not changed.

Recent High-Profile Crashes

The St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department has faced criticism for a series of one-car crashes in recent months. These incidents include a police SUV crashing into a gay bar and arresting the bar’s owner, as well as other accidents where officers failed to take responsibility for their actions or were involved in seemingly dramatic crashes.

Questions from Aldermen

During the Public Safety Committee meeting, Ward 4 Alderman Bret Narayan asked Bockstruck if the department had seen an increase in accidents since switching from sedans to Tahoe SUVs. This question was prompted by Mayor Tishaura Jones’ suggestion that the change in vehicle type may have contributed to the recent high-profile wrecks.

Bockstruck’s Response

Bockstruck explained that the department has always had a range of 100 to 150 accidents per year, with fluctuations since 2016. She also stated that SUVs are considered optimal and are the standard for policing nationwide. She did not believe that the switch to SUVs was the cause of the recent accidents, but rather the multitasking responsibilities of police officers while driving.

Multitasking While Driving

Bockstruck elaborated on the multitasking responsibilities of police officers while driving. She stated that officers are responsible for obtaining and processing a lot of information while also monitoring their environment and driving skills. This can include listening to radio communications and determining the best course of action while driving.

Length of Time Using SUVs

Ward 14 Alderman Rasheen Aldridge asked Bockstruck how long the department has been using SUVs. She responded that they have been using them for 10 or more years.

Concerns Raised

Despite Bockstruck’s reassurances, some aldermen expressed concern about the number of accidents and the department’s use of SUVs. Aldermanic President Megan Green stated that the issue should be further investigated and addressed.