- I sent this letter to The Press Democrat
- Not sure if it was ever published
if it was your loved one?
Advocates for safer
and smarter police pursuits face many obstacles. The two
biggest ones are: no
one believes it will happen to them and pursuits are
classified as "car accidents."
April, Teresa Tobner wrote, "only 1 percent of high-speed
chases result in innocent people being hurt."
Since Kristie Priano was killed in January 2002, 800
Americans have died in pursuits. Sadly, about half are
officers and the innocent.
your innocent loved one became part of this 1 percent, would
you just brush it off because the numbers were not high
enough? And injuries—many are permanent and have escalated into the thousands: A baby's arm is severed, a little girl is paralyzed, a fathers face is burned off, an officer's face is burned off, a man's leg is severed, and many more emotional and physical scars
will never heal.
that Tuesday night when we were on our way to Kristie's
basketball game, the last thing I thought was that my
precious daughter would be killed in a preventable tragedy.
Chico police knew the identity of the suspect before
the pursuit. They
knew she was NOT a murderer, that she had taken her mother's car without
permission. Was she wrong? Absolutely! Are we safer now that
the police finally stopped her when she crashed into our
van? No. Had all the officers involved followed policy -- something not
required by California's state law on pursuits -- we would not be introducing
legislation for safer/smarter pursuits.
and read Senate Bill 1403 (formerly SB 1866). This web site also has quotes from law enforcement
officers who favor restrictive pursuit policies because these
policies save lives.
The Supreme Court in Tennessee v. Garner established a
model for accountability that prevents officers from shooting
a nondangerous fleeing felon.
Despite arguments to the contrary -- the same ones being
lodged against the immunity issue in SB1403 -- 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.
suspects don't care about our safety; that's why we are
counting on law enforcement because when it comes to police
pursuits, two wrongs do not make it right. They make it deadly.