On Feb. 19, four lives ended when a Nevada Highway Patrol cruiser being driven at 113 mph by a trooper who was hurrying home for dinner smashed into the rear of another vehicle on Interstate 15 outside of Las Vegas.
In response to this tragedy, NHP wants to spend $300,000 to buy high-tech driving simulators to help prevent similar incidents.
Our response to the NHP: Give us a break.
The lack of driving simulators is not what caused this crash. It happened because a trooper broke the law and put the public in danger by driving at idiotic speeds down a freeway without lights, sirens or common sense. Because Trooper Joshua Corcran was driving a patrol car, he thought he could get away with breaking a law he is paid to enforce. How many times had he heard the excuse, "I'm late for (insert event here)" from the people he gave speeding tickets?
It is dangerous enough for NHP cars to engage in high-speed chases on crowded roads. Having troopers who use their position to break the law is a situation that cannot be tolerated.
For the NHP to use this tragedy as justification to purchase fancy toys borders on insulting. While there may be a good reason why they need three of these $100,000 driving simulators, NHP leaders need to make that case independent of this situation.
If they really want to put an end to this kind of activity, they would concentrate on enforcing discipline among their troopers. That this young officer thought he was above the law is frightening. We hope this is an isolated incident, and NHP should be taking all necessary steps to make sure that it is.
Our law enforcement officers have a very difficult job. They put their lives on the line to protect and serve, and oftentimes do not get the respect they deserve. But they also can wield a lot of power, and because of that, we hold them to a higher standard.
That standard should be made crystal clear to all NHP troopers from here forward, that speeding in your cruiser for anything except official business will not happen ever again.