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Kristie's Law needs your help ...

After reading this web site, please show your public support for Kristie's Law by writing to your elected State Senators, Assembly Members, and Governor Tell them why you support Kristie's Bill and ask your senators and assembly members in your district to support Senator Sam Aanestad's bill for smarter and safer police pursuits.  Kristie's Law will save lives and still let officers do their job. 
Letter-writing suggestions:

1. Keep your letter to one page.
2. Add this line at the beginning of your letter ... Subject: Support for Kristie's Law
3. In the body of your letter request that your name be added as a supporter to the actual bill.
4. Indicate that you have read the bill and understand that Kristie's Law is not about banning chases.

Innocent people do not volunteer to be killed or permanently injured so officers can catch someone for a seatbelt violation (which happened in Fresno when an innocent 22-year-old dad was killed as he drove to church) or suspects of property crimes. Would you be willing to have your loved killed because the police were chasing a car thief? 

Many law enforcement agencies around the country no longer chase for stolen cars and, consequently, instead of vehicular pursuits, these officers use other techniques to catch car thieves without endangering the public.
(Florida Chief Steven Jones talks about his changes: "When we quit chasing stolen vehicles, our arrest and recovery rate went way up because we thought 'out of the box.' No more chases, no damaged cars, no injuries and no deaths!")

5. Legislators are very concerned because Kristie's Law will no longer allow BLANKET IMMUNITY to cities and towns that employ officers when the officers fail to follow their agency's pursuit policy. This proposed measure is about accountability when the pursuit policy is not followed. When officers follow their pursuit policy, the cities and towns will still have immunity.

If the Chico police had followed their own policy, there would not even have been a pursuit that night, Kristie would be alive, and the teen who had taken her mom's car without permission would have been caught when she returned home. Most innocent Californians are killed in pursuits that involve property crimes and minor traffic violations.  If California limited chases to forcible violent felonies, there would be no law suits even if an innocent person was killed as long as the officer was chasing a violent felon and following policy.  Also, officers cannot be personally sued.  With Kristie's Law, officers receive the same immunity that they have with today's law.

The Supreme Court in Tennessee v. Garner established a model for accountability that prevents officers from shooting a non-dangerous fleeing felon. Despite arguments to the contrary -- the same ones being lodged against the immunity issue in Kristie's Bill -- the safer firearm policy did not hamper the police or burden the courts. No one should expect anything less from this legislation if officers follow their stated policy.

People who flee do not care about our safety; so protecting the innocent falls on law enforcement. California usually leads the nation with innovative ways to police; but while changes are being made across the country, California is still suffering with outdated and dangerous pursuit policies.

Kristie's Law is not anti-law enforcement.  In fact, some of the lives saved will be that of our dedicated peace officers.  We need to make pursuits safer by updating California's outdated and dangerous pursuit policies.  Unfortunately, law enforcement is not making the necessary changes on their own so now it is up to the public AND our elected state legislators to make this change. In other states, the public has two branches -- Judicial and Legislative -- of the government change state laws. With California's blanket immunity, the Judicial Branch is not an option for Californians, so our only hope for change is through our state legislators. Remember, California's current pursuit law prohibits any litigation against cities and towns who employ officers even when officers do not follow their own agency's pursuit policy. 

Law enforcement leaders have told me that pursuit bills, like Kristie's Law, are introduced every year, and every year law enforcement lobbyists "kill" these bills.  They wear down the victims and the legislators.  Our elected officials do not pass these bills because law enforcement is a powerful group in our State Capitol and many legislators rely on law enforcement's coveted endorsement for re-election. 

In 2001 and 2002, more than 100 Californians were killed in police pursuits, almost half were innocent victims.  Of the 24 innocent bystanders killed in California pursuits in 2001, two people were not even in cars -- one was a 4-year-old girl who was holding her mother's hand while they waited for a bus!  Since reporting of pursuits is not enforced, we can only imagine how many more people have been killed and how many innocent victims receive permanent mental and/or physical injuries.  Eleven months before Kristie was killed, a mother in Stockton had just picked up her two teenage daughters and a family friend from school.  They never made it home; they never made it out of the school zone ... all four were killed when their vehicle was T-boned by a man in a stolen vehicle fleeing officers. 

Until we (the people of California) decide that human life is more valuable than a stolen car, merchandise, money, or teaching a teenager a lesson, we will continue hearing about these tragedies over and over and over again.  Remember, in many cases these suspects can be caught in a different way without endangering the lives of innocent, law-abiding citizens.

I thought this could never happen to my family.  Let's protect our loved ones by fighting for Kristie's Law.  Please write your letter now and forward this web site to family and friends.

Thank you,

Candy Priano



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