Police train new group of accident reconstructionists

By JB Clark/NEMS Daily Journal

TUPELO – Three Tupelo police officers completed the first tier of accident reconstruction training last Friday, adding them to the soon-to-be decreasing ranks of Tupelo Police Department reconstructionists.
Tupelo Police Lt. Tim Clouse said four of the department’s six third-tier accident reconstructionists are within five years of being able to retire.
“We have different levels – level one, two and three,” Clouse said. “Some of our level threes are starting to get older and getting to retirement age. We’re trying to bring some of the new guys up and get them to that level.”
The first tier of accident reconstruction involves identifying and marking accident sites.
“This level involves measuring skid marks, marking the scene and being able to get it ready for someone like myself with a level-three background to come in and pick up when they can’t go any further with it,” Clouse said.
The level-one reconstructionists also will be able to fully handle simple accidents like a slide to stop or pedestrian hit.
“When you start getting into vehicles that hit and then veer out in different directions or try to determine speed and momentum, that comes in the next level,” Clouse said.
The three freshly minted reconstructionists completed their tier-one reconstruction, which requires 80 hours of training. Clouse said they were in class full time for two weeks.
“We’re trying to get these guys up, so they can start taking the reins so to speak – so they can start learning and move into our positions,” Clouse said.
The Tupelo Police Department’s reconstructionists don’t reconstruct every accident from start to finish. They are called upon when an accident involves a fatality or possible criminal charges.
“If it is a civil liability case, the attorneys will hire another reconstructionist to come in and do that,” Clouse said. “We’re only looking at the criminal aspect of it.”
jb.clark@journalinc.com