Tulsa Police put members of the media through a little driving school this week. While fun, the exercise was meant to emphasize the importance of officers driving safely.
Since 1999, more officers have died in car collisions than any other way. The state requires 24 hours of training for rookies. Tulsa Police requires 50 hours of rookie training and officers must re-train every two years.
News on 6 crime reporter Lori Fullbright gets behind the wheel, with lights and sirens.
The driving instructors showed us just a few of the basics, like shuffle steering and controlled braking, which allows quick maneuvers without jerking the car and getting it out of control. "If in a neighborhood and a kid jumps out in front of you, it teaches you, you can brake and steer at the same time, if you do it smoothly." Our instructor, Officer Jeff Downs, also showed us how to a-pex corners and make lateral moves with the car, moving across lanes at a moment's notice, all skills that come into play during everyday driving. "Anyone who has ever been on US highway 169 knows that if traffic stops, you may have to do that at one point or another."
A few cones jumped into Loriâ€™s path during the training, but otherwise, no casualties. The driving was tough enough, but imagine officers also talking to dispatchers and keeping track of a suspect in pursuit, it's much harder than it looks.
Now, we put all the skills together in a timed challenge course. â€œShuffle that wheel, shuffle that wheel. No brakes, no brakes, no brakes. You wanted to get that, I saw you. Get around the corner, apply a little brake right here. You're looking over here, over here. A little brakes here, feather the brake, get a nice steady rhythm going, good."
The training worked. 2 minutes-28 seconds and no cones sacrificed.
Not that Lori is competitive or was keeping track, but she did beat the reporter from Fox in the timed course. She beat his time by five seconds and was driving in high heels.