Ask The Advocate: Police officer call for help

Advocate staff photo by TRAVIS SPRADLING -- Spectators walk down North Street, collecting a few beads as they go, after this year's Spanish Town Mardi Gras Parade. Show caption
Advocate staff photo by TRAVIS SPRADLING -- Spectators walk down North Street, collecting a few beads as they go, after this year's Spanish Town Mardi Gras Parade.

What is the police procedure or protocol for responding to a police incident such as the one that followed the Spanish Town Mardi Gras parade?

Response from Baton Rouge police Lt. Don Kelly:

Our officers were responding to a desperate radio call for help from a fellow officer. We did not know at the time if she had been punched, stabbed, shot, ambushed or run over, if she was still under attack, or whether other innocent people in the area might also be in imminent danger from an assailant. In such a situation it is absolutely critical to respond quickly. Seconds matter, and literally could mean the difference between life and death. Further, the first few officers who did arrive on-scene called for even more immediate assistance due to finding an officer down, a large, unruly crowd and ongoing fights. That created even more urgency to get every additional resource we had into the area and stabilize the situation before it got completely out of control.

There's no denying emergency driving is potentially very dangerous, both to our officers and to other motorists and pedestrians. But our officers receive extensive specialized training and obtain quite a bit of practical experience in emergency driving techniques. They are taught that they must arrive safely at a scene to be of any help. The fact that so many did so, even in the midst of thousands of parade-goers, many of whom were intoxicated, and many of whom were obliviously milling around in the middle of major roadways after the parade had already concluded, without causing a single wreck or injury to anyone, is testament to their training and skills, and proves that they exercised great care and concern for the safety of everyone in the area.

Had we not responded so quickly, and allowed the situation to escalate and result in additional injuries or worse, then I'm sure we would have some people demanding to know why we didn't get there faster.

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