Editor’s note: This is the final report of a series on emergency responders in Young County.
The most dangerous aspect of the job for law enforcement doesn’t come from violent criminals, but from an unexpected source.
“I have been almost run over several times trying to direct traffic,” said Graham PD officer David Aleshire. “When I say ‘almost run over,’ like people locking down their brakes, I mean inches away. I’m not dramatizing at all when I say, ‘almost run over.’”
A majority of fatalities to officers involve trying to control traffic flow or getting struck by a vehicle during traffic stops, said Aleshire. “It’s not in the areas you think it’s in,” he said.
Often on the scene of an emergency or a major accident law enforcement officers are the first to arrive. It is their job to put order to chaos. The name of the game is containment and traffic control. They want to give the EMTs and firefighters the best access to the scene and room to operate without having to worry about traffic.
If an EMT is like the quarterback on the scene of an accident, law enforcement is the offensive lineman, creating a pocket for the other responders to operate within.
There have been many fatality accidents in the last few months, Aleshire said.
“It just happens that way sometimes.”
At all of those accidents, either a sheriff’s deputy or a police officer was the first to respond, he said.
“When they get on scene they need to usually set a perimeter or contain traffic to or from the scene to allow the ambulance or fire truck to get as close as possible to where they can be effective,” explained Aleshire. “If there’s four or five cars backed up and then the ambulance has to park behind all of those people, that’s a long ways to get up there and then get back. Even though that might only seem like three or four minutes, that could be life or death for a lot of people in those situations.”
Read the entire story in this weekend's Graham Leader.