Troopers Learn to Investigate Crashes in Cell Phone Age


Distracted or drunk, unsafe drivers put our roadways in jeopardy. Now a new class of Nebraska State Troopers prepares to make a mark.

First aid providers, crowd control and investigators, they're all roles future state troopers must play.

"Out in the real world that's all wrapped up into one," explained Trooper Jarrod Connelly, a crash investigation instructor.

The scenarios resemble real ones, down to the injuries, and the troublemakers who pass by.

"I'm not in your way," the man with the cell phone says as he confronts a trooper.

Recruit Ryan Trost said, "Digital age, everyone has a cell phone with a camera. Everyone wants to take pictures and upload to social media and be the person at the scene, just one more thing to deal with."

Cell phones were also to blame in the crash scenario at the State Patrol Training Academy, when the driver reached to pick up the phone he dropped.

Connelly said, "That's another thing we're looking for out on the road, is this guy distracted, he crashed his car, but how was he distracted. And it's pretty common now for cell phone distraction."

Coordinating with paramedics, while preserving evidence. Troopers must be aware they're at a possible crime scene, where they take photos and measurements.

"We learn causation and that helps us prevent these in the future from happening," Connelly said.

The recruits graduate next week. The training doesn't end here, with months of on the job training to follow. Still, this gets them as close as they can.

Trost, the recruit said, "They try to simulate real world stress as close as possible and a lot of scenarios they do a real good job at that."

Now it's on to field training, at the locations they've been assigned to.