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Thread: Why not use right hand drive patrol cars? & Why aren't OD's suicides?

  1. #1
    Site Supporter 0ddl0t's Avatar
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    Why not use right hand drive patrol cars? & Why aren't OD's suicides?

    I've always wondered why patrol cars aren't right hand drive. You'd be closer to the sidewalk for casual interactions with civilians, 4-5 steps closer for a foot pursuit, have a little more room for your (right handed) pistol, etc. The postal service has been using RHD jeeps forever in large part because of how much more efficient it makes carriers - why don't police?


    And since I'm asking dumb LEO questions: why aren't overdoses, 1 person DUI fatalities, etc listed as suicide? Homicide, at least everywhere I've lived, is a broad category of deaths which occurred at the hands of another human regardless of intent. It could be accidental or intentional, criminal or justified... Why then isn't the manner of every death at the hand of oneself ruled a suicide first with accidental, intentional, or undetermined as subcategories?

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    Site Supporter Coyotesfan97's Avatar
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    Left turns. I donít know how the Postal Carriers arenít in accidents every day. Seriously Iíd hate to drive 100+ miles a day in a right hand car.
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    One, cost. Modifying or purchasing cars from foreign countries is more expensive. Two, tactics. Driving up to someone you want to contact is bad officer safety. Stop short and get your butt out of the cage so you have more movement options. The Tamir Rice shooting is a tragic example of driving up too close on a suspect.

    Finally, how do you determine the OD had the intent to die? Most don't. In fact, most are counting on us responding with Narcan to save them.

  4. #4
    Regarding the death investigation question, there are five manners of death that are commonly referred to: suicide, homicide, natural, accidental, and undetermined. Undetermined obviously applies when the medical examiner is unable to conclusively determine which of the other four manners applied. A drug overdose or a single vehicle DUI crash fatality would normally be considered accidental unless evidence was found that it was a suicide. Generally most people who fatally overdose or die in car crashes arenít trying to kill themselves so their deaths are accidental. Someone just wanted to get high or drunk, not die. Sometimes other evidence is found that leads investigators to believe someone purposely overdosed for the purpose of dying, like a suicide note. In that case the manner of death would be suicide.
    My posts only represent my personal opinion and do not necessarily reflect the opinions or official policies of any employer, past or present. Obvious spelling errors are likely the result of an iPhone keyboard.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by 0ddl0t View Post
    I've always wondered why patrol cars aren't right hand drive. You'd be closer to the sidewalk for casual interactions with civilians, 4-5 steps closer for a foot pursuit, have a little more room for your (right handed) pistol, etc. The postal service has been using RHD jeeps forever in large part because of how much more efficient it makes carriers - why don't police?


    And since I'm asking dumb LEO questions: why aren't overdoses, 1 person DUI fatalities, etc listed as suicide? Homicide, at least everywhere I've lived, is a broad category of deaths which occurred at the hands of another human regardless of intent. It could be accidental or intentional, criminal or justified... Why then isn't the manner of every death at the hand of oneself ruled a suicide first with accidental, intentional, or undetermined as subcategories?
    Postal carriers donít do high speed pursuits.

    Conducting business while seated through the window is a bad habit - why would you want to encourage it?

    And if one did do anyway, being closer to the curb is not a good thing.

  6. #6
    I don't see any advantages to RHD police vehicles. Badguys don't just run or start on the sidewalk they run in the street,yards and everywhere else so RHD wouldn't aid in anymore situations than it hurt in others. Holster clearance is pretty minimal with many current vehicles having seat cushions clearanced and seatbelt tabs extended. When you consider costs,availability and the increased likelihood of even more accidents it seems like a net loss. If an agency wants to get closer to the community they serve there is foot patrol,bikes,electric scooters,Segway style vehicles and other ways to do it. As an EVOC instructor for 16 years there is a hard enough time keeping accidents at a minimum with vehicles in the same layout as their regular vehicles I wouldn't want to add RHD into the mix. Interesting thinking outside the box but I don't think this is the right direction to head.

  7. #7
    Site Supporter 0ddl0t's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Coyotesfan97 View Post
    Left turns. I donít know how the Postal Carriers arenít in accidents every day. Seriously Iíd hate to drive 100+ miles a day in a right hand car.
    Having driven a couple of RHD Japanese imports, you get used to it pretty quick. (Most) people don't hit anything when turning right afterall. But the initial few miles is very strange...

    Quote Originally Posted by paherne View Post
    One, cost. Modifying or purchasing cars from foreign countries is more expensive.
    I'd think if a large department ordered 3000+ police interceptors the manufacturer would be willing to make it RHD in the US, but even if it cost more the price of the car is insignificant compared to the labor cost of the police force so a tiny gain in productivity would more than make up for it.

    Two, tactics. Driving up to someone you want to contact is bad officer safety. Stop short and get your butt out of the cage so you have more movement options. The Tamir Rice shooting is a tragic example of driving up too close on a suspect.
    Makes sense.

    Finally, how do you determine the OD had the intent to die? Most don't. In fact, most are counting on us responding with Narcan to save them.
    Quote Originally Posted by DanM View Post
    Regarding the death investigation question, there are five manners of death that are commonly referred to: suicide, homicide, natural, accidental, and undetermined. Undetermined obviously applies when the medical examiner is unable to conclusively determine which of the other four manners applied. A drug overdose or a single vehicle DUI crash fatality would normally be considered accidental unless evidence was found that it was a suicide. Generally most people who fatally overdose or die in car crashes arenít trying to kill themselves so their deaths are accidental. Someone just wanted to get high or drunk, not die. Sometimes other evidence is found that leads investigators to believe someone purposely overdosed for the purpose of dying, like a suicide note. In that case the manner of death would be suicide.
    That's just it, why is intent part of "suicide" but not "homicide?" If there is a negligent homicide wouldn't it be appropriate to have a negligent suicide too?


    Quote Originally Posted by HCM View Post
    Conducting business while seated through the window is a bad habit - why would you want to encourage it?
    My thought process was stemming more from incremental savings in labor cost / increasing productivity - especially in a time when departments are being "defunded" and trying to do more with less... Having said that, my last ride alongs were 20+ years ago in small towns so my idea of patrol policing probably isn't representative.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by 0ddl0t View Post
    Having driven a couple of RHD Japanese imports, you get used to it pretty quick. (Most) people don't hit anything when turning right afterall. But the initial few miles is very strange...


    I'd think if a large department ordered 3000+ police interceptors the manufacturer would be willing to make it RHD in the US, but even if it cost more the price of the car is insignificant compared to the labor cost of the police force so a tiny gain in productivity would more than make up for it.


    Makes sense.





    That's just it, why is intent part of "suicide" but not "homicide?" If there is a negligent homicide wouldn't it be appropriate to have a negligent suicide too?



    My thought process was stemming more from incremental savings in labor cost / increasing productivity - especially in a time when departments are being "defunded" and trying to do more with less... Having said that, my last ride alongs were 20+ years ago in small towns so my idea of patrol policing probably isn't representative.
    Officers getting shot/stabbed/killed increases labor costs and decreases productivity. When you are working there are higher and lower risk interactions but none should be "casual."


  9. #9
    Anecdote Alert

    RHD
    A friend was badly injured in a head on collision in Scotland. I though, Oops, forgot which side of the road.
    Turned out not that way; he was hit by a Scottish drunk on HIS wrong side of the road.

    Vehicular Suicide
    Some years ago, a psychologist studied a large number of one car fatal crashes with support from highway patrol and other investigators. He concluded that maybe 25% of those wrecks were suicide.

    Specialized police car
    Elmer Keith suggested that Detroit offer police cars with opening right side windshield so the passenger officer could shoot straight ahead in pursuit instead of having to lean out the side window.
    Last edited by Jim Watson; 03-27-2021 at 03:56 PM.
    Code Name: JET STREAM

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by 0ddl0t View Post
    I've always wondered why patrol cars aren't right hand drive. You'd be closer to the sidewalk for casual interactions with civilians, 4-5 steps closer for a foot pursuit, have a little more room for your (right handed) pistol, etc. The postal service has been using RHD jeeps forever in large part because of how much more efficient it makes carriers - why don't police?

    They aren't cars, they're, "Mobil Observation Platforms." Once you 'observe' you de-ass post haste. If you've ever walked up to an officer in a patrol car in a sketchy area and he was aware enough to see you coming, you've probably had a handgun you didn't see pointed at your bellybutton, especially if you found them sitting there with arms crossed. 10 percent of people are left handed. For the other 90, you're at a disadvantage drawing when in the right hand seat and engaging someone on the right side. It's something you have to practice lots if you ride partnered.
    -All views expressed are those of the author and do not reflect those of the author's employer-

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