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California leads the nation in deaths to innocent victims of pursuit
"I was hopeful Kristie's Bill would not meet such opposition but figured this would happen because of all the negative press from law enforcement."
--Candi Fuller, niece of pursuit victim Scott Adsit

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Scott (left) on his wedding day. A year later, Scott, a construction worker, was loading tools in his pickup truck when he was killed by a suspected car thief who was fleeing from the police. 

Dear Legislator,

This page is especially for you. Ultimately, your vote will decide who lives and who dies. May Proverbs 3:27 be your motivation: "Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in your power to do it."

Peachtree City (Georgia) Police Chief Jim Murray says, "85 percent of the public believes that innocent people should not be getting killed so officers can 'catch the bad guys.'"

In January 2003, Los Angeles Police Chief William J. Bratton made these comments to officers about police pursuit policy in his jurisdiction: "The most significant change is simply this: You can't pursue if the initial contact is for an infraction only. I am not saying we are not going to do our job.  If someone breaks the law, we are still committed to apprehending that person. However, we do not want to do it in a way that jeopardizes your safety or the public's. There is an old adage: 'The end does not justify the means.'"  

Here are the results of LAPD Chief Bratton's changes to a more restrictive pursuit policy:  In response to rising numbers of similar deaths and injuries, the Los Angeles Police Department last year adopted a policy prohibiting car chases for minor offenses. The new policy has quickly reduced injuries to officers in police pursuits and injuries to innocent bystanders.

Coveted law enforcement endorsements are more important to some legislators than correcting California's outdated and dangerous police pursuit policies.

For more than 20 years our state legislators have been unable to pass legislation to update California's outdated and dangerous pursuit laws. On April 12, 2004, the Los Angeles Times explained why:

... Just introducing the measure (Kristie's Law) has prompted threats of political retaliation against State Senator Samuel Aanestad, R-Grass Valley, whose vast district extends from the college town of Chico to Redding and the Oregon border. Maready, a Redding detective, said he might form a coalition of police unions and work to unseat Aanestad in 2006.

"We would actively oppose his re-election if this were to carry on. He might see that districtwide," Maready said.

Aanestad's reaction: "I don't care. This is the right thing to do."

Check out the links below and read what others in law enforcement have to say about "thinking out of the box."  More important, read what the people are saying.  If you think this could never happen to you, find out what innocent bystanders were doing when they were killed or injured right here.  Deaths and injuries happen to innocent bystanders whether young or old, rich or poor, Democrat or Republican.

Officers share their thoughts

Citizens/voters speak out

The media see a need for public safety

Family and friends of innocent victims talk about their loved ones

California's current pursuit law gives blanket immunity to all law enforcement departments that have a pursuit policy meeting the four minimum standards of the state law.  It does not matter whether the policy is good, bad or whether officers follow it or not. Law enforcement agencies just have to have a policy, but officers do not need to follow that policy. That is the law, and that is why Senator Sam Aanestad re-introduced Kristie's Law in 2005.

Regarding Kristie's Law, some officers say even if it 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.  Read more of the story, right here.

From this article in the Kentucky Post, Dangerous pursuit: Police chases:  Debate rages over whether high-speed pursuit is justified. And consensus is growing among national law enforcement for the need for stricter controls to dictate when, where and why police engage in such potentially deadly car chases.

"We're seeing (pursuit policies) that are more restricted as to the nature of the pursuit. -- And due to the safety factor, some agencies now have said no pursuits, period," said Kentucky Department of Criminal Justice Training Emergency Vehicle Operations Supervisor Mike Leaverton.

Driving the action is the public's steadily souring view of car chases, even in that home of the live police pursuit television cut-in, Los Angeles. Too often the broadcasts gave viewers the graphic truth -- the crashes spawned by nearly half of all police car chases kill almost as many good guys as bad guys.


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