Q: An emergency in Montara had three sheriff vehicles speeding up 7th Street. No lights, no sirens. My friend who was walking with her baby and dog was afraid for her life as it was dark and she didn't know if the speeding cars would see her flashlight. Why do you keep your lights off? You could have had more than one emergency on your hands!
A: From San Mateo County Sheriff's Public Information Officer Rebecca Rosenblatt:
Obviously without a more definitive date and a time to correlate to this call for service in particular, there is not enough information to know the exact call the Deputies were responding to when the reader experienced the described incident, however I can speak generically to what she described.
Deputies do generally drive with their headlights on at night just as the vehicle code expects of all drivers driving their vehicles in times darkness. That having been said, there is a tactical element members of law enforcement sometimes have to take into consideration in dark or low-light conditions that is not something the average citizen finds themselves in a position to have to take into account.
The element of surprise can be lost if a perpetrator sees law enforcement coming, a scenario that can have put a victim's well-being at greater risk depending on a suspect's mind set or the nature of a particular call for service.
In regard to the reader's concern for public safety, members of law enforcement are submitted to stringent tactical driver training otherwise known as EVOC (Emergency Vehicle Operations Course), which involves both classroom instruction as well as hours of real life driving skills testing covering everything from driving in inclement conditions, parking, braking and pursuit driving to name a few.
Successful completion of tactical driver training is one of many skills mandated for graduation from the police academy and reiterated in training throughout the careers of those in law enforcement. When a member of law enforcement responds to an incident in progress where seconds count, they look to their training to get themselves where they are needed while also maintaining a due regard for the public safety.
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