Riverside police cruisers are now equipped with security technology that police say could have prevented a man from stealing a cruiser and crashing it in front of the Dayton Metro Library in August, killing two young girls.
On Aug. 26, police say, Raymond Walters stabbed his father several times before stealing his truck, crashing the truck and then stealing the Riverside police cruiser when officers responded to the scene.
The downtown crash killed cousins and best friends Penelope Jasko and Eleanor McBride, who were both 6 years old.
In the wake of the tragedy, the department looked for ways to make sure such a thing never happened again.
The security system was installed in all cruisers on Wednesday.
The system is used by the Beavercreek Police Department and the Ohio State Highway Patrol. It adds steps that only an officer would know for shifting the cruiser from “park” to “drive,” said Riverside police Maj. Matt Sturgeon.
“I think it’s an extra layer of security to the public and our officers,” he said.
Installing the security system cost about $400 per cruiser, according to Riverside police.
Sturgeon said the department does not have any policies regarding locking a cruiser at a scene, mainly because officers often need to be able to get back into their vehicles quickly.
“A lot of destruction and lives were altered” on Aug. 26, Sturgeon said. “That’s something we have been addressing since the day that happened.”
Walters, 32, was charged with felonious assault, robbery, murder, aggravated vehicular assault and aggravated vehicular homicide, among other charges.
Walters’ attorney entered a plea of not guilty by reason of insanity. He was scheduled to be in court Thursday, Dec. 12, but his appearance has been rescheduled for Jan. 2.
The Forensic Psychiatry Center for Western Ohio has been asked to examine Walters to determine whether he is competent to stand trial and whether he is mentally ill, according to court documents.
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