Safer Streets, Brighter Futures

Ou⁠t⁠da⁠t⁠ed Pol⁠i⁠ce Cars, Preven⁠t⁠able Traged⁠i⁠es

By: Paul Parisi / April 15, 2024

Paul Parisi

Arizona Grassroots Director

Safer Streets, Brighter Futures

April 15, 2024

On the night of March 31, 2024, Tucson Police Officer Adam Buckner died in a two vehicle crash at an intersection as he was responding to an emergency call. Even though he had the green light and his lights and siren were on, the other vehicle failed to yield, causing the fatal collision. 

Motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of death for law enforcement and intersection collisions are the most dangerous. Death by getting struck by a vehicle while on foot also occurs far too frequently. 

Can some of these vehicle deaths be reduced? Proper training and equipment can help. Though well trained, Buckner was driving an aging 2007 Ford Crown Victoria that didn’t have some of the safety equipment found on more modern vehicles, like side airbags and improved design features. 

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration:

If you are driving a car that was made before 2008, your likelihood of being involved in a crash is 30%. This is compared to a likelihood of 25% in a newer vehicle.

When involved in a collision in an older car, you have a 79% chance of walking away without injury. In a newer vehicle, your chances of walking away are increased to 82%.

It is estimated that in 2008, 2,000 lives were saved thanks to safety improvements found in vehicles. That number is expected to be even greater today as technology has improved dramatically.

When accidents that occurred before 2008 were studied, it was determined that had those accidents occurred in vehicles with safety features introduced in 2008, close to 200,000 would have been prevented.

Tucson only spends 24% of its budget on all public safety for both police and fire. Compare that to neighboring towns of Marana, Oro Valley and Sahuarita that allocate nearly 50% of their budgets just for police. Those municipalities have fully staffed, well equipped police departments and enjoy being ranked the safest communities in Arizona. 

Statistics are clear that when municipalities budget enough money to fully staff their police departments and provide proper equipment and training, officers and the public are safer and crime is reduced. The results are safer streets, brighter futures.