Troy police promote safe cell phone use
TROY -We've all seen them: people talking on a cell phone while driving.
But don't count on seeing any Troy Police officers taking part in this practice.
Troy Police Chief Kyle Wisel said the Troy Police Department is trying to "set an example" with a policy change regarding the police officers' use of the police department cell phone.
According to Wisel, the department's policy change will require officers to pull over and talk on the police department cell phone if they receive a call while driving.
While the law permits people to talk on a cell phone while driving, the police department wanted to set an example of safety by requiring its officers to pull off the road to talk on the police department cell phone, Wisel said. He said they are to pull off to the side of the road or into a parking lot to talk on the cell phone.
Wisel said that statistics show that it's not good to talk on a cell phone while driving. He said this prompted the change in policy. The change establishes how and when to use the cell phone, he said.
On Tuesday, Troy Borough Council approved the cell phone use policy change.
Also, the policy on cell phone use is being changed in another way to promote safety.
Wisel said that officers will be able to let a call to the cell phone go to voicemail when their safety or the public's safety is at stake.
For example, the officers can let the call go to voicemail when they are doing a building search and don't have time to answer.
"If they're performing a warrant of arrest, they won't be required to answer the department cell phone," he said.
However, the policy change also allows police officers to use the cell phone in an emergency if they really need it. Wisel said they might need to exchange information in an emergency, for example.
As a reminder, Wisel urged the public to call 911 in the case of an emergency in order to get the quickest response, noting that 911 dispatchers take emergency calls as their sole duty.
Eric Hrin can be reached at (570) 297-5251; email: email@example.com.