PINE LAWN, MO (KPLR) – The City of Pine Lawn is investigating after a FOX 2 employee snapped a photo of a Pine Lawn police officer, who appeared to be texting while driving.
“It’s a situation that we are concerned about, and that we’re going to look into and get to the bottom of it,” says Pine Lawn Communications Director Lou Thimes, “The purpose of any law enforcement officers being on the highway is to deter speeders, and deter unsafe driving habits and practices by people.”
Missouri is one of the only states in which it’s still legal for adults to text while driving. Still, Pine Lawn recently passed an ordinance banning this dangerous habit, although the ordinance does not apply to persons operating an authorized emergency vehicle. Pine Lawn Police Commander Stephen Blakeney says officers often need to be able to type while driving, and go through specialized training to deal with electronic devices in moving vehicles.
Whether it’s legal or not, Pine Lawn residents are disappointed, especially since the vehicle this officer was driving had the words “highway safety” plastered across the side. Sharon Ralston says, “I think that’s ridiculous. How is he going to pay attention to us, if we’re getting robbed or shot or anything, and he’s texting somebody? Does that make sense?”
“You’re not paying attention. And you know you gotta pay attention to the road because somebody could really get hurt,” adds Larry Petty.
This officer was on duty, although not within Pine Lawn city limits, when he was spotted on his phone.