Here’s the news item: Tredyffrin Township officials have suspended Police Chief Andrew Chambers for four days without pay after his 16-year-old son crashed a township police vehicle during a training operation, causing a minor injury to the instructor in the vehicle.
Now I have never met Chambers and I’m sure he’s a decent enough citizen and a good cop. But let’s be clear: allowing his kid to get behind the wheel was beyond dumb.
However what I find more amazing are the reactions and comments to the story written by Jenn Carboni. A lot of the comments state that the move by the chief to allow his kid to drive the vehicle was a bad decision but basically it’s no big deal. The chief offered to cover the damages and make everything right. OK, let’s face it, what was his choice?
Let’s not minimize the incident. If it wasn’t such a big deal why did he get a four-day unpaid suspension? Obviously it was a big deal to some people. Should he have been fired? Maybe. I’m sure other townships or boroughs would have thought long and hard about firing a police chief for making a dumb decision like this.
But the fact that there are those who find this a minor infraction is the most disturbing part of it to me.
Jenn correctly reported that according to the Pennsylvania Motor Vehicle Code, under Subchapter C, section 3746, the driver of a vehicle involved in an accident “shall immediately by the quickest means of communication give notice to the nearest office of a … police department” if the accident involves injury or death of any person or the damage to at least one vehicle requires towing. That didn’t happen. If you or I failed to follow that process we would have been in big trouble.
Now no one is suggesting an attempt to cover up the incident but would it not have been a better choice to file a report on the crash? And I don’t know the injured instructor but let’s keep an eye on the legal dockets to make sure a civil suit for injuries doesn’t follow. That one would be a lock.
This was a case of poor judgment followed by even worse judgment. And while it doesn’t seem to be a habit for Chambers, it makes him a target for second guessing going forward. And he brings that on himself. I hope he has learned a valuable lesson from this incident and that the worse thing that happens is he is short a few bucks in his pay.
But people, please look at this incident and try to see the errors made. Don’t blindly defend Chambers because he’s a cop.
— Andy Hachadorian