SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – The Springfield City Council is meeting Monday night to discuss reversing a 2014 policy that prevented police officers from responding to non-injury motor vehicle accidents.
Since the change in policy, there is nobody to assess physical damage that has been done to a citizen’s vehicle, no traffic security to detour traffic and nobody on scene to determine if the law was broken during the accident.
Springfield City Councilman Craig Hosmer proposed the new plan and believes it is key to be more proactive instead of reactive with law enforcement issues.
“Sometimes if you don’t do the little things that equal progressive and proactive policing, you have more big things occur,” Hosmer said. “That’s the genesis of the proposal. I think we’re missing an opportunity to help citizens. When citizens call the Springfield Police Department, I believe they should get a response.”
According to Hosmer, Springfield had more fatal motor vehicle crashes in 2021 than any other year and does not expect things to let up without a change. He believes that if people know the police will respond to motor vehicle accidents, then they are more likely to follow the law.
“It sends a message to the community that they are there, they are in the neighborhood and will respond,” he said. “If you’ve done something illegal, there’s going to be consequences rather than you getting involved in an accident and just walking away.”
The initial reason for preventing Springfield police officers from responding to non-injury car accidents has to do with staffing shortages, and was an attempt to free up officers for other 911 calls. Hosmer acknowledged that the staffing shortages haven’t gotten much better, but believes the city should focus on a proactive remedy for the situation instead of reactionary ways to deal with it.
With Springfield being the home of three universities and a community college, Hosmer also believes it’s irresponsible for kids who may have never been in an accident to handle incidents without law enforcement.
The police response issue will be discussed during Monday evening’s Springfield City Council meeting at 6:30 p.m. Citizens can watch the meeting online on the City’s website.