The Ottumwa Courier

Local News

May 9, 2013

Police officer wins appeal, discipline reduced

(Continued)

The problem with Main and McLean is that it's a blind intersection, Farrington said, as the VFW blocks the driver's view of eastbound traffic.

Kobes violated the OPD's policies and procedures in regards to operating an emergency vehicle and safe driving, said interim police chief Tom McAndrew.

A police officer may "proceed past a red or stop signal or stop sign, but only after slowing down as may be necessary for safe operation," according to OPD policy.

Farrington said the accumulation of all the distractions were unsafe and possibly led to the accident.

"It shows the inattentiveness of Kobes while driving an emergency vehicle at high rates of speed, which ultimately led to the accident," he said.

He said there is not a specific speed officers must drop to when driving through intersections, but must use "extreme caution."

But McAndrew didn't take issue with Kobes' accelerated speed, lack of seat belt, putting on sunglasses or looking for his microphone.

"The issue was he went through the intersection without caution," he said. "The reason I gave him his discipline is he violated the safe driving rule."

The Accident Review Board assigned Kobes eight points, which led to their recommendation that he be disciplined with a written reprimand.

At Kobes' Loudermill hearing with McAndrew, he had the chance to explain his side of what happened, though McAndrew said he provided several "excuses."

"What stands out in my mind is Officer Kobes never really accepted responsibility for the accident," McAndrew said. "He blamed it on a few different things: the type of call he was responding to, the set-up of the car as far as the location of the microphone.

"It doesn't matter what type of call you're going on, you have to always keep in consideration the safety of everyone involved. And I don't care what type of intersection it is, you should be paying attention and not messing with your car. The location of the microphone has nothing to do with blowing through an intersection and not using extreme caution."

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