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"In Quotes" 

This page includes published and public quotes on the topic of "Police Pursuits." I do not include quotes from my own personal conversations or e-mail exchanges with pursuit victims, police officers, or any individuals who discuss this topic with me in a private manner. —Candy Priano

"Without accountability, policy, training and supervision are meaningless,"
—D.P. Van Blaricom, Ret. Bellevue, WA, Police Chief

California State Senator Sam Aanestad, author of SB718: "I introduced "Kristie's Law" (2005) for one simple reason: to save lives. An innocent child in my district was killed in a high-speed police pursuit, and the police weren't even after some violent, dangerous criminal. They were chasing a teenage girl for driving her mother's car without permission. There's something very wrong when the police response to a crime poses a greater threat to public safety than the crime itself." More details about this Deadly Chase, click here.

I support law enforcement. My experience has led me to seek changes in California's state law governing police pursuits.  California's state law violates this oath established by The National Police Ethics Committee: “The primary responsibility of the police service and of the individual officer, is the protection of the people of the United States through the upholding of their laws....” —Candy Priano
Some law enforcement groups have come out against the proposed measure, "Kristie's Law." But, other officers say even if the bill does pass, it won't stop them from catching the bad guys.
 
"We can put out a warrant for their arrest, we can pick them up at their home, they have families in the area and will usually be caught,"
says Cpl. Dennis Gutierrez, Riverside County Sheriffs.
 
For the rest of the story, click here.

"Officers must continually question whether the seriousness of the crime justifies continuing the pursuit. The immediate apprehension of the violator is never more important than the safety of innocent persons or the officer himself.  When it becomes clear that the immediacy of apprehension is outweighed by a clear and present danger to the officer and others, the pursuit must be abandoned."
--Geoffrey Alpert, "Police Pursuits: What We Know"

Kudos to this CHP officer
"I thought of what happened to Kristie Priano and decided this pursuit was not worth it. 
I stopped the pursuit." 
- A CHP officer who put public safety first while pursuing a man speeding through Chico.
This officer's decision to "back off from the chase" resulted in no injuries and no deaths! ... and the fleeing suspect did not go on to kill or injure someone else after the officer stopped the chase.  
More of the story.

CHP policy permits high-speed chases for traffic violations
SAN FRANCISO, May 21, 2004 -- Theodore Resnick's death rekindled a long-standing debate over whether car chases on city streets pose too many risks. Berkeley police generally prohibit high-speed chases for traffic violations, but that policy does not extend to the CHP on city streets.  "In no way are Mr. Norbert [the fleeing suspect] or I blaming this death on the CHP, but certainly there were choices made by the CHP that as a person you might question," Norbert's attorney, Anne Beles of Oakland. More of the story.

--Reporter Tim O'Leary/The Press-Enterprise
TEMECULA, January 20, 2004 -- A police decision to stop chasing a driver fleeing at speeds up to 90 mph may have saved lives Monday afternoon, yet did not prevent Temecula officers from making an arrest in the case, authorities said. "I would like to think it would have been cancelled regardless," police Lt. Chris Davis said. "It would have been a poor decision to continue to chase the vehicle when we could identify the driver.  Any time speeding or driving conditions appear to make the risk to the public greater than the need to apprehend the suspect, we'll discontinue the pursuit."

'But there's nothing wrong with our policies'
VENTURA COUNTY, November 19, 2003 -- "The CHP regularly reviews its policies on high-speed chases. Those policies will not be changed."  ..."We're very sorry this happened. It was a tragic, regrettable incident, and if we could do anything to bring that girl (her name is Jessica Mohorko) back, we would. But there's nothing wrong with our policies."CHP Spokesman Tom Marshall

The CHP cruiser, driven by husband and wife team Jack and Christina Raughtons, was following an alleged speeder and was traveling roughly 90 mph without lights or sirens when it slammed into the passenger side of a car driven by Christopher Haynes. Jessica Mohorko, 18, was in the passenger seat and died at the scene. 
--Reporter Tamara Koehler
Ventura County Star
November 19, 2003

"These Citizens do not volunteer to be rolling roadblocks for police," 
—D.P. Van Blaricom, Ret. Bellevue, WA, Police Chief

'It is also a matter of training'
An authority on police driver training, Sgt. Travis Yates of Tulsa, Okla., says that very few police academies provide lengthy training on pursuit driving. Yates, who has coordinated driver training of Tulsa police officers for about seven years, runs a Web site called www.policedriving .com.  "You give some training in the academy, but if a police officer gets in a pursuit years later, how much training has he or she had?" said Yates in a telephone interview Friday. A patrol car is a potential weapon, he said, and departments say, "Here are the keys" without the needed training. 
--Jim Six
sjnewsco.com
November 29, 2003

One Question
"Is it worth the lives and safety of our officers and citizens to chase traffic offenders?  What type of penalty will the offender face if caught?  I'm sorry, but every law enforcement CEO should put the safety of his community above the need to lock up someone.  If their jurisdiction is like Florida, the arrested offender will probably be home before the officer completes his paperwork."
—Chief Steven H. Jones
Orange County Sheriff's Office (Florida)  

Consensus is growing for restrictive pursuit policies
In trying to explain the trend, Erlanger Police Lt. Kevin Gilpin says, "It's funny because when you first get in the job you think it's going to be neat to run down the street with the lights and sirens on, because when you watched it on TV, you didn't think about it. You just go, 'That looks like that's fun.' And to a certain extent, it is fun -- that rush of adrenaline.  But it takes a toll on you. -- because the guy trying to get away from police doesn't care about people in the roadway. So we have to. What's the old saying? 'You may win today's battle, but you're not going to win the war.' "  The Kentucky Post, November 8, 2003

'We have a responsibility to drive more carefully'
The Des-Moines Register, November 7, 2003 -- Des Moines police Chief William McCarthy said Thursday that two serious chase-related crashes in as many weeks amplify the need for law enforcement agencies to review their policies for high-speed pursuits. "We have a responsibility to drive more carefully," McCarthy said. 
 
"It is a proven fact.
High-speed chases kill people."
--Daniel Conway, 54, after he saw dozens of patrol cars racing by his house at various speeds. A 21-year-old police officer, Daniel Starks, was killed in this pursuit when he ran a stop sign and collided with another police officer as they both raced to join the other officers ... a tragic chain of events that started in a Fort Myers, Florida, nightclub parking lot.  (October 25, 2003)
 
Police Officer Daniel Starks chose to serve others. Our prayers go out to his family. At their memorial services, Officer Starks (October 2003) and my daughter Kristie (Feb. 2, 2002) were remembered with the same song, "I Can Only Imagine." I can only imagine the day when unnecessary police pursuits will be a thing of the past. As I "fight" for more restrictive pursuit laws, I feel as if I am fighting to save peace officers from themselves.
--Candy Priano
 
Police always on the hook
"Change the pursuit laws so that police will not chase a car because it is stolen.  So if a cop sees a stolen car drive by and doesn't follow, and the car was stolen by a murderer or robber, who then proceeds to kill or injure someone, can the victims or victim's relatives sue the city because the crime would have been prevented if the police had pursued the stolen car?"  
-- Liz Marr, Chico (Source: Chico Enterprise-Record, Letter to the Editor)

A Department of Justice study concludes that only 10 percent of all pursuits involve violent felons who put the public in imminent danger. Consequently, 90 percent of all pursuits involve people who have committed minor, non-violent crimes and, in many cases, can be caught later in a safer way ... safer for peace officers and innocent bystanders. By the way, most stolen cars are totaled in pursuits, and most people who flee do not go on to kill or injure others if officers decide to stop the pursuit so the surrounding public is not put in harm's way.
--Candy Priano

 
Big Boys, Big Toys
"Of course, police always say strict guidelines have been followed in each pursuit and then generally blame the driver who was trying to get away. Granted, a pursuit begins when someone tries to flee police, but that doesn't mean a pursuit is necessary.
Unless someone is an imminent threat to the public, say taking pot shots at unsuspecting citizens with a semi-automatic weapon from the back seat of a nondescript 1991 sedan, police pursuits are more macho than law enforcement. Big boys with big toys ..."
For the rest of the story, click here.
--Richard Larsen
Deputy Opinion Page Editor
The Ventura County Star
2002

"Still paying for something I had no control over.""The chase was not my fault, however, I have paid and still am paying for something that I had no control over while the police officers go on with their lives. These chases are so unnecessary. They almost always end in tragedy."  
--Monika Reed
An innocent bystander paralyzed 
in a 1991 police chase in Lawton, Texas

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