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Assisting an Officer

View Poll Results: Take the help or not?
Take it 3 42.86%
No thanks 4 57.14%
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Old 12-10-2013, 05:23 PM   #1
Mrogers33 [OP] Mrogers33 is offline
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Question Assisting an Officer

You guys need an "ask a LEO" sticky thread for general inquiries... :P

I had come home from work and someone was going so fast on our one lane icy road that they smashed into my neighbors parked car and broke their wheel off and stuff. The road was completely blocked with flares up and I was talking to my neighbor (the victim) and a tow truck was 45 minutes out.

The cop was just spinning tires on the ice and burning rubber trying to ram this broken car off the road, so I offered to try and push it with 4WD and he really didn't care either way. So I pushed it around a little and was trying to spin the car when I kind of broke their bumper even more, and then the owner/driver comes up and asks me if I'm going to pay for the damage to her car that I just did, I'm thinking Jesus Christ are you for real? you could have killed someone in our little residential neighborhood. I told her I was helping the police unblock the road, then just drove away slowly and went and parked out back to avoid retaliation.

If you were on the scene of an accident like this would you decline help for worries of damage liability? I didn't care if I tweaked MY bumper or whatever and wouldn't expect anyone to be liable, but how about for the owner of the wrecked car. The cop was scraping it to hell with his bull bar anyway and I figured whats the difference who damages it? Should the owner have been asked "is it ok if this guy fucks up your car even more?" So as a LEO do you take the help or decline it?
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Old 12-10-2013, 06:11 PM   #2
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That's mighty fine of you for offering your assistance. If that was the case and that body part of the car was already jacked from the accident... and I was already trying to do the same thing but couldn't get traction, I would have been more than happy to have you help out. The tow truck being 40 min. out and the road blocked, heck ya. If her car was already busted, its busted. They are going to have to replace the bumper anyway.
During the little snow storm we had over the weekend, some dudes pulled up in their truck to a car that had spun off the interstate just as I got there. They saw it slide off and stopped to help pull it out. I told them to go ahead, and the driver who slid off was ok with it too. Made it easier on me, 'cause I was able to get in a good spot to warn oncoming traffic, instead of trying to get the car out and worry about getting hit. Tow trucks were slammed with other accidents and this was just a slide off.
The only problem with your situation is there are a lot of people out there that will offer to help, but if it goes south, then they blame us. Now if I order them to help and something happens, then its totally on me. Like if you would have tried to push that car off and it spun around and hit the side of your truck or something, then what would you do. That's the kind of stuff that goes into my thinking when someone offers to help. There is a lot of liability when we start having other people get involved. But I am stoked to hear that you did offer a hand, need more people like you/us out there. People willing to take a second out of there day to help.
With your situation, I would have explained to the lady that was driving recklessly or too fast for the conditions, that I will add it to my report that you helped. I would have told her I was just trying to do the same thing, so she needs to chill and get off your back. And with the road being blocked, there is potential for another wreck or others to get hurt. Get that crap off the road ASAP if it can be done safely.

Hope my opinion novel answered your question...
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Old 12-10-2013, 06:18 PM   #3
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If your vehicle touches my vehicle and I had no say in it ... I would be upset whether it was already fucked up or not. I would also be in a bad mood because of the wreck ... tho I wouldn't ask if you were going to pay for it I might make a comment like "Please don't fuck my car up more trying to be a hero"

It's totally cool to assist if the cop wants it but you might have crossed a line by trying to push the car off the road. My experiences tell me that most of the time the police don't want help unless there is really some threat to them or someone else.

Just my 2 p.
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Old 12-10-2013, 06:24 PM   #4
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In today's world, liability is everything!! Unfortunately, you doing a good thing came back and bit you on the butt. I would NOT allow you to help out like that mainly because I would fear what actually did happen. I would not want to put you on the line for something that I considered my responsibility. If I could not push her out of the way, then we will wait for the tow. If the other car is damaged as a result of you helping, then technically you are responsible for it. If I used my patrol car to push a car out of the way and damaged the bumper, then my Dept will have to pay for that. Even if the situation dictates I move the car (hazard) we still fix that car if we damage it. Sucks, but that is society!!
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Old 12-10-2013, 06:31 PM   #6
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If the lady finds out your info I bet you will be hearing from her insurance company. It sucks because you were just trying to help.
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Old 12-10-2013, 06:38 PM   #7
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I would not help move a car unless i new the person the crashed and the officer was ok with it.


like if a buddy went in a ditch or something and i had a winch and could pull it out and if car/truck was fine to drive home. save time for the tow truck and save the coast of one. BUT ONLY if i knew the person and they and the officer was ok with it.
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Old 12-10-2013, 06:44 PM   #8
Mrogers33 [OP] Mrogers33 is offline
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Cool thanks for the responses fellas and i completely understand the liability aspect especially now in hindsight. I have to agree that I would be liable for that part of the car if it became damaged, i assume the officer on the scene and the neighbor pretty much told her tough luck you shouldn't have been speeding in the first place.
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Old 12-16-2013, 12:16 PM   #9
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Our dept. has a form for that. A release of liability form. I've used it for similar situations or if I think I might break something trying to help the situation. I use them with child lockout's in the summer. I have the parent sign the form and use a window punch on a window.
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Old 08-26-2014, 10:40 PM   #10
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If its just property, leave it be. If its life and death, maybe. I pissed of many a person by refusing to tie on or use my car to move theirs. But its the "right" way to do it, there are tow trucks for a reason, and time is only an inconvenience. If its to save a person, it sucks for me, that uniforms melt and burn in a fire.
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