Why State Trooper Roles Have Changed During The Pandemic

Over the last several weeks the role of law enforcement has shifted from safety to survival, expanding their responsibilities as front line works during a national health care crisis.

Steve Bryan, EVP and GM, SambaSafety sat down with guest Deputy Chief Mark Savage of the Colorado State Patrol to learn about the forthcoming increase in targeted enforcement actions to address the driving behavior causing those crashes.

Highlights from the conversation, which can be found on-demand, included:

  • Initial jobs of state troopers around 10 weeks prior were much different and due to the unknown timeframe of COVID-19, there was some anticipatory fear that the supply chain could potentially be disrupted.
    • This meant that there was concern and mindfulness to ensure that those working within the supply chain were well-protected.
  • In Colorado, state troopers were well prepared and due to the decrease in drivers on the road, they increased their presence in communities so those knew that law enforcement was there to protect the supply chain and was available if necessary.
  • A repositioning of the CO State Patrol’s enforcement strategy, which is beginning to be walked back.
    • With these less aggressive approaches to enforcement means a decrease in roadside inspections but an increase in speeding by those in personal vehicles.
    • For about a month, it seemed that drivers were doing very well in staying off the roads while reducing their speed, but come around the second week of April, there were some concerning trends that began to emerge.
    • Patrolmen were seeing some aggressive speeding from those in personal vehicles.
      • This is thought to be a symptom of people staying home for the past two and a half months.
    • That if we choose to learn anything from this pandemic, it is that if the correct level of infrastructure is put in place, it directly impacts safety of essential professionals as well as personal drivers in a positive manner.
    • The general public having begun realizing and recognizing the value of our essential workers.
    • With changes coming in the next 6-8 months, Savage and the CO State Patrol’s top priority includes maintaining officer wellness and giving them the ability to stay well.
      • This includes delivery of PPE, including cloth masks and rubber gloves, providing CO State Patrol with significant relief.
aerial view of busy highway streets crossing