Springfield Police Will Stop Responding To Some Crashes
Beginning August 1st, police in Springfield will no longer respond to crashes where someone isn't injured, the vehicles can be moved, the drivers are not drunk and all parties have insurance.
Edited from a press release from the Springfield Police Department:
During the past harsh winter, the community likely noticed the Springfield Police Department (SPD) go into “emergency status” for traffic crash response.
When this status is in effect, citizens involved in motor vehicle crashes are instructed to exchange information with other drivers involved and make a walk-in crash report as long as all involved vehicles are operable, there are no injuries present, and none of the involved drivers are alcohol or drug-impaired. There is no need to contact police in this situation during emergency status.
This protocol has allowed the SPD to wisely use its resources in times of a high call volume, and it has also caused the department to reevaluate its response to motor vehicle crashes on days when weather is not a factor.
Beginning Aug. 1, regardless of the weather and road conditions, the SPD will respond to motor vehicle crashes in a similar manner as when it is in emergency status. If the following conditions exist, then no police response is required, and no crash report will be completed by officers.
No injuries are involved. All vehicles involved are operable and don’t need to be towed. It resulted in no damage to public or private property. No alcohol/drug-impaired drivers are involved. No driver leaves before exchanging information. All drivers have valid proof of insurance.
Just as the SPD’s been advising during times of emergency status, motorists are advised to exchange information with one another and make a Citizens Crash Report. The information that should be exchanged includes the name, address, vehicle information including license plate and driver’s license numbers, and insurance information.
Citizens can locate the crash report forms at the SPD Headquarters (321 E. Chestnut Expressway) or the South District Station (2620 W. Battlefield), on the SPD’s website or at any Springfield library. Completed forms can be returned in person to either SPD station, by mailing to Headquarters or emailing to CentralRecords@springfieldmo.gov. In 2013, the SPD responded to and took reports on 4,913 non-injury crashes. This number does not include fatalities, injury crashes, hit-and-runs, or walk-in reports
When reviewing responses to traffic crashes, the SPD found that the average time spent on travel and on-scene work of a non-injury crash was 67 minutes. Annually, this protocol could save thousands of officer hours that could alternatively be spent on proactive policing.
“For the SPD’s traffic officers, specifically, this will include allowing for a quicker response to community complaints about traffic-related issues and conducting more enforcement efforts on red-light violations and intersections that have a high frequency of crashes,” said Police Chief Paul Williams.
The time saved will additionally allow the SPD’s patrol officers to focus on identified crime trends in their areas of responsibility, and they will have more time to locate and arrest wanted subjects, respond to community complaints, conduct traffic and DWI enforcement activities, and interact with the community.
“We will be able to spend more time changing poor driving behaviors of citizens, thus preventing crashes from happening in the first place,” said Williams. “Citizens won’t feel the need to wait for an officer over a fender bender that can quickly be resolved between the parties. This change in department policy and practice is a win-win for both the community and their police force."