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
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
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.