"The absence of accountability in any process for controlling human behavior is a systemic deficiency that clearly demonstrates to all concerned that policy, training, and supervision are really meaningless when there are no consequences for ignoring them."

D.P. VanBlaricom, Police Chief, Ret., Bellevue, WA

California's current vehicle code
Published in the Chico Enterprise-Record
Feb. 28, 2004
Don't tie officer's hands
In 2002, a very tragic auto crash took the life of 15-year-old Kristie Priano.  This is the kind of catastrophe all parents dread.
Priano has been in the news many times since her death. Currently her name is being used to advance a bill by [Senator] Sam Aanestad in the state Legislature.

This bill would not be a fitting memorial, but an albatross around the neck of every police officer in the state.
When an officer sees a suspicious  vehicle that will not stop, he or she cannot know whether that subject has just murdered someone, been involved in a hit and run, or possibly abducted a child whose life may be saved by an effective pursuit. 

If this law is passed and police are required to break off pursuit with the penalty of lawsuits, untold scores of felons will immediately know all they have to do is speed up.

The loss of one promising child like Kristie Priano is tragic. However, I would not wish any child of mine remembered as a device to hamstring police or be hailed by lawbreakers as the tool to aid their escape.

Possibly the most egregious part of this bill is the opening of the police agencies and or the individual officers to punitive law suits.  [Kristie's Law still shields officer's immunity. This statement is a PR scare tactic from law enforcement.]

Tom Johnsen


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Copyright 2002