Two police officers hit and killed by south shore train

Discussion in 'Commuter Rail and Rail Transit Discussion' started by Steve4031, Dec 18, 2018.

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  1. Dec 18, 2018 #1

    Steve4031

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  2. Dec 18, 2018 #2

    NorthShore

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    Further reports have it that they were hit from behind, and never saw the train coming, as they were dodging another oncoming train (which may have been sounding its horn and drew their attention.)

    Not to sound harsh, but apparently rail safety needs to be taught at the academy.  Obviously, the officers were in pursuit of someone with a gun, but to run out onto busy tracks at rush hour without ensuring that trains have been stopped is inviting tragedy.   

    Not a word, yet, about the engineer/motorman.  That poor person is going to have to deal with being an inadvertent cop killer, and the scorn it entails.  

    I don't mean to sound insensitive.  Yet, while these officers will likely be honored as heros, I just don't understand how one can be serving public safety by outright disregarding public safety.  Officers, truly, need to be better trained for the good and safety of all: police and public.   
     
  3. Dec 18, 2018 #3

    Mystic River Dragon

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    NorthShore,

    Thank you. I wanted to say the same thing but was not sure how to phrase it.
     
  4. Dec 18, 2018 #4

    Steve4031

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    The engineer is not going to be scorned for being a cop killer.  He had know idea what to expect. And had no time to react. If you apply the same logic to other trespasser strikes then engineers could be child killers, murderers, etc. 

    my condolences to the police officers in their families.  

    I think the issue is that the Chicago police department does not have a procedure for this.  I don’t think the police officers are properly trained.  I have read other stories about police shooting at a suspect driving a car while it was driving away towards police at the other end of the block.  The bullets could have hit the other officers. 

    Its tough.  It’s Monday morning policing to second guess the actions of the police After the fact. 
     
  5. Dec 18, 2018 #5

    NorthShore

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    I realize I wasn't in their shoes.  But, I mourn two dead officers...who should be alive, but for their own actions, which ought be questioned for best practices and safety.   To not do so is, essentially, to tacitly approve of their deaths with the idea that the cops are always acting rightly and in best interests.  The matter deserves a full and transparent investigation.

    A suspect was not even apprehended until hours later.  Would it have taken that much effort to use their radios to contact the dispather and pause while other officers helped monitor the embankment until train traffic halted?   

    And, minimally, I'd hope this spurs a department in a city with so much rail traffic to have all officers sit for an Operation Lifesaver session, learning to, "Look Listen Live!"
     
  6. Dec 18, 2018 #6

    Dutchrailnut

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    sad part is Police should know not to go on tracks unless a hold is requested to railroad.

    there two officers should not have been killed or been on place they were.
     
  7. Dec 18, 2018 #7

    JRR

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    I mourn the officers who were risking their lives to attempt to apprehend a fleeing suspect who had already fired a shot according to reports. There is no doubt that they could have and should have been more careful and their lack of total attention to all possible dangers cost them their lives.

    Remember, however, they were trying to catch someone who was a very real and present danger to the community. In those situations, one does not have time to calmly sit back and calculate all possible courses of action while in the active pursuit. Unless you have been in their shoes or similar ones, I’d suggest more empathy for the fallen heroes, their families and fellow officers.
     
  8. Dec 19, 2018 #8

    Dutchrailnut

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    Been in shoes of train crews having to face this kind of ignorance, any questions?
     
  9. Dec 19, 2018 #9

    SarahZ

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    Nobody is saying one "side" is more tragic than the other. Both are tragic - the loss of the officers' lives while they were trying to protect the public and the train crew's suffering as they deal with the ramifications of striking two fellow human beings.

    I did not take JRR's comment as anything other than a plea to show empathy toward all involved, even if you may think you would have done better in that situation.
     
  10. Dec 19, 2018 #10

    Rover

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    I pray this tragedy will be the impetus for all police forces across the nation that have any rail in their vicinity, to have a safety/policy training module for all actions around train tracks (whether in a vehicle or not) for all officers, regardless of duty assignments.
     
  11. Dec 19, 2018 #11

    neroden

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    Untrained incompetents.  I have zero empathy for the self-killing police.  Anyone who RAN ONTO ACTIVE RAILROAD TRACKS is an idiot.  Chicago's full of railroads; they should have known basic rail safety before the age of 8.

    This speaks very badly to the standards used for Chicago police hiring and training.  Do they require that their police officers have low IQs, as some police departments do?  (This is documented, police departments which refuse to hire people who do well on IQ tests.  Crazy.)

    There's a *lot* of stories about Chicago police endangering public safety in various ways (one was mentioned earlier in this topic, you can find plenty of others by Googling) so I think there's probably a toxic, corrupt culture of unjustified entitlement in the Chicago police -- the opposite of "protect and serve" -- an "I can do whatever I want" culture.  And maybe they can get away with this when they're illegally arresting innocent people or running their "black site" in Homan Square, but they can't order the laws of physics to change.  This corrupt culture ought to be fixed, but what mayor will have the guts to clean out the Augean Stables of the Chicago police?
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 19, 2018
  12. Dec 19, 2018 #12

    cirdan

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    That may not be as easy as it sounds. They would have to know who the responsible dispatcher for that precise bit of railroad track is and then to establish and communicate their precise location and even then, you can't stop all trains at the flick of a switch. All this would consume valuable time during which the suspect would be getting away.

    Police officers should definitely do some basic railroad safety training as part of their overall traning program, and learn safe behavior on and around railroad tracks. I do believe this is often lacking.  On the other hand, sometimes split second decisons are required and police officers need to decide what level of risk is acceptable in chasing a suspect. This is far from being the only dangerous situations that police officers are likely to get into as part of doing their job. People who make split second decisons wil tragically sometimes get it wrong. 
     
  13. Dec 19, 2018 #13

    cpotisch

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    Agreed. I honestly wouldn’t even be surprised if they prosecute the engineer, just to make a statement (here in NYC, cops tend to really go after anyone who does anything like this). It’s just not that hard to stay off active tracks. People should understand this stuff.  :eek:hboy:
     
  14. Dec 19, 2018 #14

    fairviewroad

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    Unless there is evidence of impairment, I would be extremely surprised if the engineer was prosecuted. 
     
  15. Dec 19, 2018 #15

    Devil's Advocate

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    1.  This statement assumes facts unsupported by available evidence at the time of your post.

    2.  There is an enormous middle ground between risking your life with excessive carelessness and calmly contemplating every possible action and outcome.

    3.  There are few concepts more convoluted and meaningless than occupational heroism. 
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 20, 2018
  16. Dec 19, 2018 #16

    Dutchrailnut

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    only way crew will get alcohol and drug tested is if they hit another employee or if there was just cause. to be tested in this situation would only have been warranted if they ignored a radio or train order to restrict speed due to police activity.

     If the police entered track without notification, testing of crew would warrant a lawsuit.
     
  17. Dec 20, 2018 #17

    Rover

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    Maybe the Police Officers should be tested....
     
  18. Dec 20, 2018 #18

    cpotisch

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    I don’t think so. This sounds much more like bad judgment than actual impairment, IMHO. They definitely should have known not to run onto the tracks, but I don’t see how intoxication or “influence” would have caused this particular incident.
     
  19. Dec 21, 2018 #19

    cpotisch

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    Why on earth would they do that, and do you have any proof?
     
  20. Dec 21, 2018 #20

    AG1

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    It is general knowledge in the law enforcement community that the most effective  patrol  officers are those that tend to be rough, ready and street wise who can best confront the despots of society. In other words, the grade school bully or troublemaker probably would grow up to be more effective as a policeman than the studious class nerd that never made trouble. In contrast, the detectives and forensics experts tend to have advanced their education.  ref. My police training.
     
  21. Dec 21, 2018 #21

    Bob Dylan

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    AGI: Nothing wrong with Street wise Cops, but there are way too many shootings and frame ups of minorities by Thugs in Blue, while their so called Brothers in Blue look the other way or flat out Lie and Cover up for them! :help:

    "Lock them up! Lock them up!"

    FYI: I was a Certified Peace Officer and Arson Investigatior (a requirement in the State of Texas for Arson Investigators)while attending College.

    I carried a weapon while working Arson cases and also served as a Reserve  Patrol Police Officer in my City. 

    I also have several LE Relatives in my family  including Highway Patrol Officers and  a Retired FBI agent so am not a Cop basher but am appalled by what's going on in far too many LE Agencies when it comes to mistreatment of people out on the streets. YMMV
     
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  22. Dec 21, 2018 #22

    NorthShore

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    There has been a telling development via the charges not filed against the accused suspect.

    While he has been charged with gun offenses (he admits to finding a gun and firing it to see if it worked) he has not been charged with felony murder.  Under Illinois law, if anyone dies in connection to the commission of crime (even if not the doing of the criminal) prosecution can place this charge.   It is regularly employed in the state, and many serve additional time for it. Such charges might have been expected in this case.  So, it's sort of surprizing that they weren't.

    The police union is pushing for more significant charges to be added.  I think that's a mistake on their part.  If either felony murder or even the lesser charge of tresspassing upon railroad property were employed, it would force the defense attorney to outright attack the police actions, arguing that their deaths are their fault alone.  Even charging the accused offender with tresspassing exposes the fact that no one belonged on those tracks.

    The state's attorney has done the police officers and department well in declining to press such charges, allowing them a burial with greater public respect and reputation.

    But, it also tacitly tells us that they recognize the reality of where fault was in their actions.
     
  23. Dec 22, 2018 #23

    Devil's Advocate

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    There is a vast middle ground between bullies and bookworms.  There is also a growing awareness of a potentially significant correlation between employment as a first responder and unsolved/unprosecuted criminal activity.  We are slowly beginning to realize that the traits and experiences that may lead someone to seek employment as a first responder are likely to be correlated with the traits and experiences that may lead someone toward the path of a career criminal.  That being the case, there are likely to be a substantial number of people who share motives and actions of both paths.  In a self-selecting system there should be similar numbers of crossover participants.  In other words for each "criminal informant" you would expect roughly one "crooked cop."  The vetting/training/hiring process will weed out some of these bad apples, but many will likely be missed or ignored.  When someone who has criminal tendencies is accepted and trained as a first responder they will likely find themselves in a position that is both uniquely destructive and exceptionally well protected from conventional discovery and prosecution.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 22, 2018
  24. Dec 24, 2018 #24

    NorthShore

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    On Sunday, in Chicago, an armed robbery offender attempted to escape by running down L tracks.  He was apprehended by officers - after the electricity to the third rail was shut off and trains stopped.
     
  25. Dec 25, 2018 #25

    Trogdor

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    That’s actually somewhat common. I remember a number of incidents like that from my CTA days, and even now still see the occasional “trains delayed due to police activity” announcements (granted, not all of them are about cops chasing suspects down tracks).

    That said, I’m under the impression that there’s a much better communication line between the police department and CTA than police and the various railroads. Further, the police chasing someone on CTA will know “I’m on the Blue Line at Medical District” but I don’t know how trained they are to know the specific railroad, subdivision and milepost of a location if they are chasing someone on a mainline railroad. And that’s what it would take to get the same level of protection.
     

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