Bill encourages law enforcement officials to exercise caution

Published 7:00 am Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Even though House Bill 1202 went into effect at the beginning of this month, nothing will change for local law enforcement agencies.

According to the bill, all emergency vehicles traveling at a speed in excess of 30 miles per hour over the posted speed limit are required to use emergency lights and sirens.

State Representative for District 106 John Glen Corley said Mississippi lawmakers introduced the bill after a track athlete, Kaelin Kersh, was killed in an accident involving a Mississippi Highway Patrol Trooper in May last year.

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As a result, the law is known as the “Kaelin Kersh Act,” and includes law enforcement vehicles, ambulances and any other emergency response vehicle that can by law use rotating or oscillating lights.

Stacey Wilkes, State Representative for District 108, said although most law enforcement agencies already had a policy in place to that effect, the bill serves as a reminder that accidents can be avoided by taking precautionary measures.

Pearl River County Sheriff’s Department Chief Deputy Shane Tucker said, prior to the law going into effect most departments had a policy in place that determined the speed speed at which emergency lights should be activated.

Tucker said he is glad that there is a law stating a specific speed.

Poplarville Police Chief Butch Raby considers it to be a good law that reinforces responsible behavior each law enforcement officer should abide by when on duty.

He said officers in his department always used their emergency lights while responding to any emergency situation.

Picayune Police Assistant Chief Jeremy Magri said that nothing will change in his department, since officers were previously required to use their lights when responding to a call that prompts them to exceed the speed limit.

“There’s no reason for a officer to be traveling at 30 mph over the speed limit without lights and sirens,” Magri said.