Accidents are the second costliest source of liability for the LAPD, according to the Inspector General, whose new report highlights the dangers of cops racing to a scene.
LA's Police Commission Monday looked at the report's findings with alarm.
"Code three operations is one of the most dangerous things we do, especially in high traffic situations," said LAPD Chief Charlie Beck.
In crashes involving an emergency code-three call — 80 percent of the time officers were at fault, the inspector general often citing unsafe speed and making turns too quickly.
"My employees are very desirous of getting to locations to help the public," Beck said. "We have to temper that with their need to get there safely."
Close to a third or nearly half of the officers involved in crashes may not have been wearing seat belts, the report said. Many said they didn't for tactical reasons.
"What is it going to take for cops to wear their seat belt?" Steve Soboroff, a police commissioner. "What else do we have to do?"
Top news of the day
Beck hopes new software called Telematics will change things.
Car companies such as Ford are using them to keep data on speeds, lights, and how often seat belts are worn. Telematics is being tested in LAPD units, with the aim of ensuring officer safety.
"We look at each and every one of those circumstances and try to make sure that officers drive appropriately," Beck said.