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One wonders when law enforcement will work with 
California legislators to prevent future victims.
By Barbara McIver
Redding Record Searchlight
May 12, 2004

State Sen. Sam Aanestad has recently proposed a bill that would restrict high speed pursuits of suspected criminals who flee from the police (Senate Bill 1403).

Presently each law enforcement agency is free to establish a pursuit policy that fits the local circumstances. This bill would standardize pursuit policies in California and limit chases to cases in which the public faces "certain, immediate and impending" peril. Existing law largely shields police and sheriffs' departments from liability in cases in which someone is injured as a result of the pursuit.

Unfortunately, this bill makes police agencies liable for the conduct of fleeing suspects and opens cities and counties to what the California State Sheriffs Association believes would be an avalanche of lawsuits.

Road conditions, traffic and population density vary so greatly it is simply not realistic to have the same rules for Shasta County as for the city of Los Angeles. Intended to reduce the danger to the public, this misguided proposal would actually encourage suspects to drive recklessly. The criminal who knows the police cannot and will not pursue him will not be sticking around. Routine traffic stops will turn into high-speed flights where the criminal knows he can and will get away. Public safety is not well served.

This bill is opposed by the California Peace Officers Association and the California Police Chiefs Association and is just another example of the bureaucrats in Sacramento wanting to take local control away from the people who know best.

The recent looting of city and county tax revenues to feed the Sacramento bureaucracy has left fewer police officers on our streets. Aanestad's bill will tie the hands of those remaining officers and should be opposed by us all.

Barbara McIver is a Tehama County supervisor and a candidate for the 2nd Assembly District.



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