Behind the Badge: A "Crash" Course

By: Cassie Anderson Email
By: Cassie Anderson Email

Car crashes are a mess of metal and emotions. When a Lincoln Police Officer shows up on scene, it's his job to take control and ensure the safety of everyone involved.

It's a responsibility the LPD recruits are ready to take on.

"It's surprising to me how well everything is actually coming together," LPD Recruit Matt Lesiak said.

"It's been a really interesting experience," LPD Recruit Steve Redlin said.

"One of the harder ones I think," LPD Recruit Aaron Brown said.

Before these recruits are unleashed on Lincoln streets, they're put to the test with staged accidents

"Every scenarios they worked out here is based in real life. It's based on a accident that either I myself have worked or another trainer has worked, something similar. They are all based in reality," LPD Traffic Crash Coordinator Todd Kocian said.

They cover everything from a fender bender to more complicated scenes, like when a driver and passenger switch places.

"There's definitely a reason why people are going to avoid being the driver involved an accident," Redlin said. "That's not something you usually think of. When you go on an accident scene, the person in the driver's seat, you are going to assume is the driver."

Redlin has a law enforcement background. The old switch-a-roo didn't throw him for a loop.

"Sure, enough it ended up being he had no drivers license and he has a warrant," Redlin said.

For Lesiak, this is all new.

"It's hard to anticipate how much information goes into on a day to day life that a police officers goes through," Lesiak said. "Their roles change so fast from one thing to the next, to where it's difficult to wear each hat you need to to be able to accommodate every scenario."

The recruits serve as investigators and mediators.

"I think the most challenging part of today was any of the scenarios in the afternoon where there's an altercation between the drivers," Brown said.

"Some of the ones that want to fight with one another, just get them separated , keep them away from one another and try to defuse the situation as quickly as possible," Redlin said.

They have to control the situation and get the information of what happened. Although the scenarios are based in reality,

"Until you experience it, there's no real way to compare," Lesiak said.

The instructors are giving the recruits all they need to succeed on the streets.

"I think the more reps we get, the more repetition the better off they are going to be," Kocian said.

"That's the best way to learn anyway, learn from a mistake," Brown said.

"They can really give us a lot of the criticism and things we need to improve our skills so when we get out of the academy we will be able to handle real accidents on the streets," Redlin said.

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