Friday, December 2, 2005

Police chases

Does anyone know exactly when it became the fault of the police when anyone is hurt as the result of the police attempting to apprehend a fleeing suspect? So many police departments seem to be issuing restrictive policies on when police can pursue fleeing suspects. Many are along the lines of “if the suspect is wanted for minor traffic violations (or similar) and while fleeing exceed X miles per hour, brake off the chase”. I don’t get any of the supposed reasons for this. I don’t think that there is ANY reason that the police should willingly stop chasing a fleeing suspect. My reasons are:

  1. The suspect is fleeing from the police. This by definition makes them guilty of failure to obey a police officer. No one knows what else they may be wanted for. America’s most wanted could have just gotten away because this time they just had a broken tail light.
  2. Why are they fleeing? We don’t know. That is the point. They could be just afraid of another traffic ticket or there could be a 13 year old girl in the trunk. The fact that they ran should raise a red flag and demand that they police catch them.
  3. Anyone and everyone that is hurt during a chase and subsequent apprehension is the fault and responsibility of the suspect. The police would not have had to chase them if they had stopped. No one else would have been hurt had they stopped.

I believe that these sorts of pursuit policies just encourage suspects to flee from the police. The mindset being “if I just go fast enough, quickly enough, the police will stop chasing me and I will get away”. I just don’t see the sense in that. The police want to catch ‘bad guys’ and make the streets safer. Restrictive pursuit policies do not help.

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