TN Lawmakers Call For New Technology to Prevent Accidents Caused by Police Officers

by mdp | September 10th, 2012

crutches_thumbMayor A. C. Wharton of Memphis, Tennessee is planning to ask the City Council to fund new technology to be placed in police cars that could help prevent devastating Tennessee car accidents, like the one that left two people dead last month. The accident Wharton spoke of occurred at about 2:45 in the afternoon, when rookie police officer Alex Beard was responding to a call requesting backup for another officer. Delores Epps, 54, and Makayla Ross, 13, were in the back seat of their Ford Contour, driven by Makayla’s father, when Beard’s squad car struck the passenger side of the Contour, killing Epps and Makayla Ross on impact. Michael Ross and the unidentified victim in the passenger seat were hospitalized in critical condition, and Beard has been released from the hospital.

Speeding Officer Kills Two in Accident

Wharton announced his desire for the new police car technology in a press conference on August 28, and also said that he has asked the Tennessee Highway Patrol to conduct an independent investigation into the accident that killed Delores Epps and Makayla Ross. “It was with a heavy heart Sunday afternoon that I learned of the fatal car accident involving one of our own Memphis Police officers and the family,” Wharton said. According to witnesses to the accident, 23-year-old Beard was speeding at the time of the accident and was not using his lights or sirens, an issue that Wharton has called the “crux of the investigation.” In Tennessee, department policy requires officers responding to emergencies to have both their lights and sirens on, except when stealth is necessary.

GPS Technology to Track Tennessee Squad Cars

The technology that Wharton has in mind is a GPS-based device that would allow TN police officials to pinpoint the location of a squad car, and to determine its route, speed, and what equipment is in use at the time. The technology could also include cameras in the squad car that would activate when the squad car hits a certain speed. Although Wharton admitted that he doesn’t know what the cost would be to implement this technology, he plans to ask the City Council to find the money. “Whatever the cost is, I don’t think it’s too much, particularly if it’s going to [help] officer safety,” he said. “I think we have a sound police in place. We just have to take some action to make sure it’s followed.” If you have suffered injuries in a Tennessee car accident, especially one caused by a TN police officer, contact our car accident attorneys at Michael D. Ponce & Associates to discuss your legal options. Our law firm is located in Nashville, and our car accident lawyers have extensive experience helping car accident victims pursue the compensation they deserve.