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Deputies go hands free
Sep 28, 2006 12:00 am
If you soon see Wilson County Sheriff's deputies apparently talking to themselves while driving, don't be concerned with their mental health.
The reason is likely a new hands-free only policy Sheriff Terry Ashe is implementing Oct. 1. After that date deputies driving marked patrol cars will only be allowed to use hands-free headsets while driving and talking on their cell phone.
"I think it's in the officer's best interest," Ashe said. "… Patrol units have to be alert and pay attention to things that are going on around him."
He said the public shouldn't be too concerned when seeing a deputy on a cell phone, as officers are frequently communicating with the office.
"Cell phones are a way of life in this profession," Ashe said. "We do a lot of communicating in our office with our patrol officers via telephone, but I just think it's just dangerous to talk on it and drive."
Deputies can use the phone while sitting still, as the policy only applies to moving cars. In addition, Ashe said deputies will have to provide their own headset.
"(Our department hasn't) had one accident as a result of it, but I know that there's a great capability of it and I know that the likelihood of it," Ashe said. "… So I'm just trying to stay ahead of the curve, staying proactive instead of reactive."
Officers from the sheriff's department and other departments can frequently be spotted on their cell phone, Ashe said.
"I have been in near-accidents with patrol units in Lebanon, our department and others," Ashe said. "…The public doesn't need to be too critical when they see officers talking on their cell phone because most of the time they're talking to the office. … We do a lot of confidential calls, but at the same time I think this is just a good policy to implement."
Staff Writer Jason Cox can be reached at 444-3952 ext. 45 or by e-mail at email@example.com.