Driver blames Police Service Technician for her insurance rate hike

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - If you live or work in the city of Memphis, chances are you've seen PSTs, or Police Service Technicians.

They're employed by MPD to help out with manpower, and like any company, department, or organization, they've had complaints filed against them.

"Incorrect data, numbers being transposed when it relates to the offense report," said MPD Lieutenant Colonel Keith Watson.

Resident Lisa Geis believes perhaps they need more training after her encounter last Saturday with a PST.

"He handed me a citation, and he said, 'That gentlemen said you hit him, and I believe him," Geis said.

She said the PST made a bad call when he gave her a citation for an improper lane change. Geis said her SUV was the one hit by the driver of the truck, who was also cited for driving without a license or insurance.

Geis questions if PSTs are qualified to work minor crash scenes and write citations without a commissioned police officer on the scene.

"I'm the one stuck with court costs, insurance premiums going up, all for this uninsured driver that hit me," Geis said.

She said generally speaking, some perhaps seem unqualified.

"I don't know the training," Geis said. "Nobody will tell me that information, and I can't find it."

So we asked Watson who supervises the PSTs.

"It's actually part of the making of police officers, the first step that police officers receive in basic training," Watson said.

He said the department's 66 PSTs go through six weeks of training and they're fully qualified.

"No, it's not up to the PSTs discretion, it's pretty much state law," Watson said.

He admits though that sometimes PSTs can issue a citation to both drivers if there's not enough evidence to see who's at fault.

Geis said there may actually be an even bigger problem.

"Maybe the thing is hiring more police officers, which I think is a problem--we don't have enough," Geis said.

MPD also pointed out PSTs have responded to 25,000 calls in all of last year and while they've received some complaints, they've also received many compliments.

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