City cops in cruisers pay traffic tickets if speeding without chief OK

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Rachel Crider talks about the potentially hundreds of cameras available to Chattanooga police at its real-time intelligence center. (Photo David Tulis)

Chattanooga police officers in their cruisers are subject to Title 55 in the rules of the road and pay traffic tickets if speeding without authorization.

Officers in the city department are allowed to violate the rules of the road for commercial users when authorized by their superiors on calls. But without that OK, they’re bound by the rules of the road.

By David Tulis / 92.7 NoogaRadio

Officer Rachel Crider, who works in the real time intelligence center, tells residents taking part in the citizens police academy she got a ticket for speeding in her cruiser rushing toward a public disorder call.

Officer Crider says that one officer was given three tickets in one day of work at an estimated personal cost of F$150, possibly more than that person’s wages for the day.

When a member the public points out that officers on the road may be understood to be commercial operators under Tenn. Code Ann. Title 55, she agreed. Officers in their cruisers are subject to the commercial regulations because their work makes the road effectively their place of business.

That makes them subject to the rules the road — except when there are authorized by a necessity of crime prevention or emergency to break those laws, such as against speeding or requiring full stops.

At law necessity is always a defense, even among private users who in court are able to excuse and justify speeding, for example, on grounds of the necessity of taking an injured child to the emergency room or an expectant mom to the maternity ward.

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