DPD officers complete crash-scene investigation course

Tuesday, May 29, 2012
From left, instructor Barry Waldrop, Officer Vella Denny, Officer Bart Lemons, Sgt. Billy Buck, Officer Scott Bruce, Officer Jessica Luckenbaugh and Officer LaQuinta Ward.

Earlier this month, six Dyersburg police officers completed an 80-hour training course designed to improve officers' analytical abilities during crash-scene investigations. At Scene Traffic Investigation School is a comprehensive course offered by Tennessee's Highway Safety Office to teach officers how:

* to identify roadway evidence

* to apply physics to determine speed and time factors

* to determine evidence inside and outside of cars

* to learn how to draw scale maps

* to learn how to properly record data

The course, which is offered for free to municipal police as well as sheriff departments, was taught by instructor Benny Waldrop who is an expert on traffic crashes and recreations. Waldrop stated that when police officers arrive at a crash site they normally ask witnesses and drivers what happened. The course is designed to teach officers how to form an opinion based on evidence rather than witnesses, which can sometimes give contradicting testimony. Waldrop's, whose experience includes 32 years with the Tennessee Highway Patrol as well as five years with the Madison County Sheriff's Department, hopes that officers can use the information to file accurate reports and cut back on lawsuits.

"There are always a lot of questions in a crash," said Waldrop. "This is a way they (officers) can get in there and be given the tools to cut down on lawsuits."

The course is the first in a series of three courses that includes the Advance At Scene Traffic Investigation School and the Reconstruction Class. Officers that complete all three courses can earn credentials that would allow them to be declared expert witnesses during court cases. The advantage of an expert witness, according to Waldrop, is that expert witnesses can offer opinions and answer hypothetical questions.

"Someone that takes all three classes will be able to reconstruct crash sites with a lot of detail," said Waldrop.

Officers attended the course from April 23 through May 4 at the DPD Training Center in Dyersburg. The officers that attended the course are: Vella Denny, Bart Lemmons, Scott Bruce, Jessica Luckenbaugh, LaQuinta Ward and Sgt. Billy Buck. Twelve DPD officers have now completed the course and Capt. Mark Moody says the department will continue gathering groups of officers to attend the course on a yearly basis until all have completed at least the basic course. Moody says that the DPD will also begin registering officers for the advanced course.

In 2011, the DPD responded to 795 traffic crashes including 97 involving injuries, three of which proved to be fatal. So far this year, the DPD has responded to 287 traffic crashes including 37 involving injuries, one of which has proven to be fatal.

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  • Hey officer Jessica....I have been really really bad...you need to come and arrest me...:)

    -- Posted by bacongrease on Tue, May 29, 2012, at 9:21 PM
  • I think she was the hot female officer who pulled me over one night. I was ready for her to handcuff me...

    -- Posted by Dude2010 on Tue, May 29, 2012, at 11:49 PM
  • I see Jessica at the ball park and she is breath taking! She can protect and serve me anytime she wants!

    -- Posted by christmasbooyans on Wed, May 30, 2012, at 9:17 AM
  • With comments like those,...no wonder we have so much idiocy in Dyersburg. Guys..just a note. I'm sure Jessica and many other females in our town hear this all the time and it IS NOT FUNNY! It is your own little joke and someone has already told them this before...like 20 years ago ..before. Besides..I don't think she'd want to have any relations with a loser who would WANT to commit a crime to get close to her. Jessica has a great personality but idiotic comments like yours cause a person to become less receptive to our male generation. Congrats Jessica and all of your others for spending your time wisely and learning so that those of us who have to deal with people like these can be assured that they won't have to be judged incorrectly when you are locking them up!

    -- Posted by agentsinger on Wed, May 30, 2012, at 12:23 PM
  • i wonder if they had any training on sweeping up the glass after an accident? or do they have to call in someone else to to it....

    -- Posted by closerlook on Wed, May 30, 2012, at 6:36 PM
  • Duh, "agentsinger"- you are truly a idiot! You don't possess enough sense to realize when people are joking and having fun? I'm sure no one on here is going to "commit a crime" just to be around her...God get a sense of humor...(sucking up too)..

    -- Posted by Dude2010 on Thu, May 31, 2012, at 4:44 PM
  • Agent....I have nothing but respect for this woman. She is obviously competent and good at what she does. I was in no way being rude....who doesn't like a good hearted compliment?

    -- Posted by bacongrease on Sat, Jun 2, 2012, at 7:36 PM
  • Dang... breath taking? hot?.... wow..... might wanna come down to South Florida for a reminder of breath taking and hot....

    -- Posted by DMASE on Mon, Jun 4, 2012, at 11:33 AM
  • DMASE: The picture doesn't do her justice. Trust me...

    -- Posted by Dude2010 on Mon, Jun 4, 2012, at 9:00 PM
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