Here's the latest in do-as-I-say-not-as-I-do news: Some Kansas City police officers don't buckle up while on duty.
The hypocrisy was highlighted after a drunken driver slammed into the side of a police cruiser on December 5, The Kansas City Star reported. One officer was knocked out, and the patrol car's internal camera revealed that neither officer in the car was strapped in. Luckily, the officers weren't killed. But what's their excuse for breaking the law -- and department policy -- and upsetting their commanders?
Via the Star:
Though most officers embrace seatbelts in their personal vehicles, theyThat's why Serge Grinik, the officer injured in the December
avoid them at work because they fear the belt will prevent them from
getting to their gun or getting out of their car quickly. They also
worry that the seatbelt will hold them in an upright position if they
need to duck gunfire.
wreck, wasn't strapped in. Grinik's attorney, Mike Yonke, told
the Star that his client stopped buckling up about three months
before the wreck.
A man who appeared to have a gun marched up to Grinik's patrol car.
Grinik tried to get out of his car, but his gun got tangled in his
seatbelt. His partner -- who was not wearing a seatbelt -- hopped out
and subdued the suspect.
"He (Grinik) said he'd rather risk being hurt in a wreck than be
executed in his car," Yonke said.
After that, Grinik wore his seatbelt on highways and major
thoroughfares, Yonke said, but unbuckled in other areas, including 35th
Street and Euclid Avenue, where the suspected drunken driver barreled
into his side of the patrol car the afternoon of Dec. 5.
Grinik suffered a fractured pelvis and a broken shoulder and spent four
days in a hospital. He is back to work, on limited duty, and fighting
for full workers' compensation benefits.
It's not like Grinik isn't paying a price for not wearing his seatbelt.
On top of his injuries, Grinik's benefits were slashed in half because
he wasn't wearing his seatbelt (Missouri law lets employers do that for
employees who refuse to use safety devices), and he may have to pay half
of his medical bills.
Those excuses apparently aren't good enough for Police Chief Jim Corwin.
"Of all the people in the world, we should be the first ones to
understand that seatbelts do save lives," he told the Star.
But it's not like the KCPD is tracking who buckles up. They don't. So no one knows exactly the number of officers who are breaking the law.