We need to catch "the bad guys,"
- but let's do it smarter and safer
- The police car is as deadly a weapon as the fleeing vehicle. Forty percent of all pursuits end in a collision and of all the deaths involving pursuits, between 1/3 to 1/2 are innocent victims. We would not accept peace officers to fire their firearms into a crowd just because someone else did, so why do we accept that it is okay for officers to conduct high-speed chases because someone flees, especially when the suspect can be caught under safer conditions to the public and the officers themselves.
In Kansas City, Missouri, another group has made a similar determination. They are friends of bicyclist Toni Sena who was hit and killed in July during a pursuit. Her friend John Anderson states, "The pursuit policy should meet the same strict standards as that of an officer's firearm. They (the police) are not allowed to shoot into a crowd, even if a felon is running away. Yet for some reason, it is okay to drive a 4,000 pound missile into a crowd."
When it comes to police chases,
the illusion of safety is quickly fading.
Lack of safety shows poor law enforcement tactics
Will public continue to pay price?
High-speed pursuit not worth the risk
Campaigning for Kristie's Law in Los Angeles
Police answers elusive
Teen's death unnecessary
Same thing in Fresno
Pursuits aren't worth it
Police need better judgment
How important is a human life?
Many people and organizations are advocates for safer police pursuits. The death toll of innocent bystanders is increasing daily for obvious reasons:
- An unwarranted lack of respect for authority.
- Police pursuits are now "entertainment" ... video games and TV chase shows.
- An increase in the number of "stupid" people who think they can flee from peace officers and not get caught.
- More cars and people are on the road.
Unfortunately statistics on pursuits are not complete, but we can safely say that more and more innocent people are being killed and maimed in police pursuits. Most reports on police pursuit do not include the number of permanent mental and/or physical injuries.
Sources and Resources: The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the U.S. Department of Justice, PursuitWatch.org, and Victims of Police Pursuits.