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Viewfinder: Avondale Police Take Crash Course in Defensive Driving

This Patch editor took the test and had an accident.

Avondale Estates police department took a crash course in defensive driving, complete with a simulator this week.

After the officers completed the program, Patch stepped in to try it out and had an accident.

"For us, the straight outcome is to reduce the number of officers hurt and to safeguard the public," said Cpl. Paul Conroy with Avondale Estates Police Department. "It was about making better informed decisions while driving."

Avondale's police officers are constantly on the go with thousands of calls each year. Many of them include speeding down residential or main roads with obstacles at every turn.

The free course was a decision-making exercise for Avondale Police, according to Conroy with the department. It was offered by Local Government Risk Management Services, a local loss prevention company with a Decatur office.

For Patch, it was an exercise in sensory overload. While driving the police cruiser simulator, Patch got a first hand look at seeing what officers actually go through while driving as they make critical decisions.

Drivers in the simulator cross dangerous intersections, trail behind buses changing lanes, get around construction obstacles, and other impediments, all during an emergency.

Patch experienced an accident on the way to a car fire, followed by motion sickness and the feeling of claminess. Thankfully, the operators provide peppermints to stave off nausea. 

Clearly, this reporter/editor isn't cut out for the force but officers go through these types of risks every day. 

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