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State Police Seek Ways to Protect Troopers at Traffic Stops

State Police Seek Ways to Protect Troopers at Traffic Stops

Lieutenant Governor Timothy P. Murray, far left, Registrar Rachel Kaprelian and other walk past cruiser driven by Trooper Corey Rose who was hit by an accused drunk driver over the weekend in Taunton.

Boston Globe via YellowBrix

July 23, 2010

FRAMINGHAM — State Police will review their rules on traffic stops and continue increased weekend patrols in response to a series of traffic incidents that have injured five troopers, one fatally, in the past five weeks.

Colonel Marian McGovern, the State Police commander, told reporters at headquarters today that she does not believe the troopers who were struck by vehicles did anything wrong.

Instead, the review of policies and procedures is aimed at learning whether there are safer techniques or better technologies used by other departments that could also be deployed by her department.

McGovern said there is no such thing as a routine arrest.

“What’s different about police work is that nothing is standard,‘’ she said. "Every single stop could be the last stop.’’

Joining McGovern were Lieutenant Governor Timothy Murray, state and federal transportation officials, and representatives from Mothers Against Drunk Driving and the American Automobile Association.

McGovern said her agency is obviously interested in protecting troopers, but it is also very concerned about safety of motorists.

“Let me make it very clear. While we are concerned about trooper safety, we are equally concerned about the public who travel our roadways every day,‘’ she said. "We are dedicated to doing all we can to make the highways safer for them.’’

McGovern said her department will continue to establish sobriety roadblocks periodically around the state and will also have four extra patrols on Fridays and Saturdays in each State Police patrol district.

The head of the state police union called Monday for a sweeping crackdown on motorists who are driving drunk, urging that more personnel be dedicated to the peak hours for drinking and driving, particularly Friday and Saturday nights along major highways, the Globe reported earlier this week.

All five crashes took place between midnight and 2:30 a.m. and in four of them drivers face drunken driving charges. In one accident, police have not identified the driver.

In the worst crash, Sergeant Douglas Weddleton, 52, a father of four, was killed in June. He had pulled over one suspected drunk driver, when a second driver, whom police say had also been drinking, plowed into the stopped car, pushing it into Weddleton.

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