Officials highlight importance of officer safety after trooper injured, dragged on highway
SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WGGB/WSHM) - The law enforcement community here in western Massachusetts and beyond is breathing a sigh of relief that a Massachusetts State trooper is safe after being hit and dragged by a car during an attempted traffic stop in Holyoke last Friday.
That incident does pose the question... how can officers stay safe while in the line of duty?
Western Mass News spoke with Springfield Police Superintendent Cheryl Clapprood about what happened Friday and she said traffic stops can have deadly consequences and it’s why training for them is critical.
“It’s high up there,” expressed Clapprood. “One of our most dangerous calls. That’s how Springfield lost two of our officers. We’ve lost them to traffic stops and to domestics.”
Springfield Police Superintendent, Cheryl Clapprood spoke out about one of the worst scenarios officers can find themselves in and what a Massachusetts State trooper experienced on Friday when he attempted a traffic stop in Holyoke which sent him to the hospital.
The driver, 45-year-old Michael J. Williams Jr. of Greenfield, ended up fleeing the scene, hitting and dragging the trooper with his car. The trooper was able to free himself and was taken to the hospital with non life-threatening injuries.
Clapprood told us dealing with these dangerous situations is part of the job for every officer on duty.
“We’re highly trained in it,” explained Clapprood. “In-service this year deals with it, with all the officers again, reminding them: how to pull a car over, how to broadcast it, how to give a description, where to position your cruiser, how to turn the tires – so you don’t get hit when somebody smashes into the cruiser, how to call for back up, because really no traffic stop is routine. You just don’t know what you got in the car.”
But she also points out holding violators accountable is crucial.
“I encourage the courts to stop dismissing the tickets,” added Clapprood. “Cause’ the citations are used as a consequence to bad driving. And bad driving is certainly out there. We’re trying to curb it. But every time I put an officer on the street, that’s the danger he or she faces. You know? You don’t know what you’re coming up against. So, when they write that citation, court clerks and judges, please, take that seriously and enforce that. Cause’ the dismissal rate is high, and when they get dismissed, they come back even more bold than they drove before.”
Clapprood also recommends everyone to get familiar with proper traffic stop protocol, so both the person getting pulled over and the officer are safe at all times.
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