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Citizens Police Academy discusses crash investigations, visits dispatch center


This week's Bloomington Police Academy session dealt with crash investigation, andvisited the Monroe County Emergency Dispatch Center. Anna Brown

Twelve citizens gathered at the Bloomington Police Station from 6-8:30 p.m. Tuesday to learn about crash investigation at the Citizens Police Academy.

Bloomington Police Department Capt. Ryan Pedigo gave a presentation about officers’ responsibilities at crash sites and ways they reconstruct accidents. Pedigo has been a crash reconstructor for six years.

“Working backwards and figuring out what caused this and why this wreck ever occurred in the first place I think is extremely interesting,” Pedigo said.

Pedigo said there are three different levels to become a reconstructor. There are about six weeks of school that go into the training. Much of it deals with math and physics.

“The energy involved in crashes between motor vehicles is just incredible and if you’re into math at all, it’s your thing,” Pedigo said.

An accident is usually considered worthy of a report when there is damage or injury on a road.

“A lot of people have a misconception that if a motor vehicle is involved then there should be a crash report done and that’s simply not the case,” Pedigo said.

Pedigo said officers have a responsibility to protect and preserve the scene of the accident. He said he often tells officers to touch as little as possible at crash sites since objects can be used to determine the speed of impact.

The officers have an app on their phones that allows them to take photos that are uploaded directly into BPD’s cloud storage. Pedigo said officers can never take enough photos.

The photos provide evidence for the position of the vehicle, driver and passengers.

Pedigo said measurements from the crash site are important for determining what happened. They’re also useful in case officers have to testify in court about the crash.

Getting these measurements is what causes road closures. Pedigo said it was important to not rush because once the crime scene is released, it is gone forever.

Pedigo showed photos from three non-fatal crashes. He explained how crash reconstructorswould view the scene to figure out what happened.

After the presentation, the attendees went to the Monroe County Emergency Dispatch Center.

BPD responded to about 53,000 calls for service from the dispatch center in 2018, Pedigo said.

Pedigo said working at the dispatch center and responding to 911 calls is a job with a high stress level.

Dispatch supervisor Amy Wolfe said there are 24 people who work at the dispatch center such as supervisors and people who answer calls.

They are trained for three weeks on the basics, such as what language to use and how to operate the computers, but Wolfe said most of the skills are learned on the job.

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