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  • Why 'no pursuit' policy is bad.

    A little story from a couple of weeks ago. One of our SO cars got on the radio and called a pursuit for refusal to stop on a traffic violation. The supervisor on the shift followed procedure to the letter, asking for all the right info, then telling the officers involved to terminate the pursuit. The subjects fled into Memphis after the pursuit stopped. Not 2 minutes later another officer radioed in he had just gotten info from one of the suburban PD's the subjects had just done a home invasion robbery in their city. Everyone followed policy and because of that the bad guys got away. I'm not for an unrestricted policy but jeez, there has to be SOME leeway allowed on the part of the officers. This was a prime example of a too restrictive policy letting the public down. If our guys had been allowed to chase for just a bit longer based on traffic condiitons, etc we would have still been behind them when we found out they were violent felons.
    "Patrolling the Idiocracy"

  • #2
    Yes. But at the time of the stop no one knew that. They way many policies read (at least 'round here) is that if the vehicle was wanted in a violent crime, then the chase would have been allowed.

    Don't worry, bro. As long as the cop goes home at the end of shift he won. They'll get caught eventually.
    You have no right to not be offended.-Neal Boortz

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    • #3
      About 10 years ago the California Highway Patrol published a study on pursuits titled, "An Evaluation of Risk". I used to have a copy but may have tossed it out. It quantified the risks to the public created by pursuits (an innocent citizen is four times more likely to be hit by lightening than be kiled in a pursuit). It also tracked pursuits that were terminated where the suspect or vehicle could later be identified, and quantified the risk created to the public by letting the bad guy go. In the long run, the study determined that terminating pursuits often created a greater risk to the public than what would result if you continued them.
      Going too far is half the pleasure of not getting anywhere

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      • #4
        I cant speak for other departments but Memphis has a real restrictive chase policy. The average ****bag knows we cant chase for traffic violations and they run all the time.

        The other day I was watching a COPS out of Atlanta where a officer was attempting to stop a vehicle for a broken tail light and it took off. After a short chase the vehicle crashed and the suspect was caught after a foot chase, when caught the susp was naked from the waist down (only t-shirt). They go back to the scene of the accident and there is a F/B in the car screaming. She advised that the suspect had just pulled up next to her stuck a gun in her face and forced her in the car, thats when the APD got behind him and lit him for the tail light. If the vict had lived in Memphis she would have been raped and probably killed, because we would to have broken off the chase, because all they knew at the time was the susp fled on a traffic violation.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by L-1
          About 10 years ago the California Highway Patrol published a study on pursuits titled, "An Evaluation of Risk". I used to have a copy but may have tossed it out. It quantified the risks to the public created by pursuits (an innocent citizen is four times more likely to be hit by lightening than be kiled in a pursuit). It also tracked pursuits that were terminated where the suspect or vehicle could later be identified, and quantified the risk created to the public by letting the bad guy go. In the long run, the study determined that terminating pursuits often created a greater risk to the public than what would result if you continued them.

          Excellent point. In my days assigned to air support I was over a fair number of pursuits that were called off. Never once did the suspect vehicle slow down. The only difference was that there was no police car with its emergency equipment on to warn the motoring public.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Centurion44
            Yes. But at the time of the stop no one knew that. They way many policies read (at least 'round here) is that if the vehicle was wanted in a violent crime, then the chase would have been allowed.

            Don't worry, bro. As long as the cop goes home at the end of shift he won. They'll get caught eventually.
            Right, but my point is if they had let us continue at least for another few minutes, we WOULD have had that info, and we COULD have continued. It's too restictive when even a supervisor has to call it off within a certain time frame before he or she has all the facts. In this case if he had the latitude to allow it to continue until we could check with the other PD we might have had them. He called it off without regard to traffic (it was the middle of the night) or speed simply because it was blind policy. If they know we can't chase they're gonna run. If they think we MIGHT chase it may stop a few from running.

            From my perspective, I wasn't in the pursuit, but if they had stuck with it and given locations for just a couple of more minutes think I was in a position to intercept. I feel for the victims in this one.
            "Patrolling the Idiocracy"

            Comment


            • #7
              Well, I'm not going to Monday-morning quarterback that particular situation. I wasn't there.

              But the county PD has a pretty restrictive chase policy and I believe our department's, although it's not as restrictive as it was, has gotten a bit better. Without saying anything to damning, I would just assume it should be up to the supervisor and officer in chase to know when to break it off, and when to "continue following in the same direction of travel as the suspect vehicle to make sure you are there in the event of an accident".
              You have no right to not be offended.-Neal Boortz

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              • #8
                As a retired Sgt. who has been caught in this pursuit trick bag I can tell you what the real issue is----Money and Liability!!!!!! The powers that be could care less what the right thing to do is, it's all about the bottom line and not losing any money as a result of lawsuits over wrecks in pursuits.

                DelatCop
                "For those who fight for it, Life has a meaning that the sheltered will never know"

                Unknown Marine
                Khe Sanh

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                • #9
                  They runnin for a Frickin reason and until we catch'em we ain't gonna get to beat that reason out of'em
                  It just ain't so much fun no mo ...............................

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                  • #10
                    Our pursuit policy is very similar. Unless the vehicle has been, or is suspected of being involved in a violent felony... we cannot pursue. We have begun to tacticlly (sp) follow.
                    In law enforcement, the customer is ALWAYS wrong.

                    In God we trust. Everyone else is run through NCIC.

                    Sometimes there is justice. Sometimes there is just us.

                    I'd rather be tried by 12 then carried by 6.


                    The opinions given in my posts do not necessarily reflect the opinions, views, policies, and/or procedures of my employing agency. They are my personal opinions only.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Drunkcop
                      This was a prime example of a too restrictive policy letting the public down.
                      I don't see it that way. In Connecticut the pursuit policy is state law. The law is just an extension of the people's will through their elected representatives. The people have said, through the law, that they don't want us pursuing anyone except under exceptionally specific circumstances, and even then they throw in the "due caution" phrase that pretty much guarantees that if there's an MVA you will be held accountable.

                      If the people want to pass a law that instructs the police not to pursue, so be it. The pendulum has swung pretty far to the idiot side on this issue, but my sworn duty is to uphold the law. After a while, when enough bad things happen as a result of police failing to pursue because of the law, the pendulum will swing back the other way and the pursuit law will be changed. Maybe there will even be a law specifying that the person who runs from the police is criminally and financially responsible for every MVA that occurs during the pursuit and that the officers are immune.

                      The most effective way to eliminate a bad law is through its vigorous enforcement.
                      Cogito ergo summopere periculosus.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I think it was in FL a few years back, but there was a sheriff who caught a deal of flack for his deputies pursuits and he scheduled a press conference. He went on the 6 o'clock news and told every scumbag within the viewing area that his deputies were not going to chase any bad guys any more for any reason. Less than a year later he was begged to re-instate his pursuit policy and get the bad guys because in that short period of time crime went through the roof.

                        Personally I think that legislatures should establish a few laws regarding pursuits...

                        1) Remove all liability from the police as long as due regard was exercised

                        2) Place all liability on the fleeing suspect

                        3) Make it a felony with minimum mandatory sentences that reflect the potential for injury to innocent people by the fleeing suspects actions under all circumstances

                        4) Realize that an untrained idiot operating a motor vehicle at any speed while trying to run from the police is tantamount to a blind man shooting into a crowded room. Due to the person's obvious inability to concentrate on his own driving while watching the police he may as well be charged with attempted voluntary manslaughter (the unlawful killing of another without malice, while comitting another unlawful act) for every person he drives past.

                        Unfortunately, for whatever reason, we don't seem to give credit to the potential for a vehicle to be considered as a deadly weapon in our society as much as it should. If you wave a gun at people you will probably get shot, if you drive over people you get a ticket.

                        I used to work in a jurisdiction that had a reputation for bringing back the bad guys. If you ran, you would get caught. Other jurisdictions would chase people to us because they knew that we would end it. People behaved accordingly and would often say, "man I knew I shouldn't have screwed up here, you guys don't play." as they were arrested.

                        If people know they are going to get caught and go to jail for a long time, they are less likely to run for a suspended OL or other such BS.

                        -web
                        "there is no hunting like the hunting of man and those who have hunted armed men long enough and liked it, never really care for anything else thereafter." Ernest Hemingway

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by mobrien316
                          I don't see it that way. In Connecticut the pursuit policy is state law. The law is just an extension of the people's will through their elected representatives. The people have said, through the law, that they don't want us pursuing anyone except under exceptionally specific circumstances, and even then they throw in the "due caution" phrase that pretty much guarantees that if there's an MVA you will be held accountable.

                          If the people want to pass a law that instructs the police not to pursue, so be it. The pendulum has swung pretty far to the idiot side on this issue, but my sworn duty is to uphold the law. After a while, when enough bad things happen as a result of police failing to pursue because of the law, the pendulum will swing back the other way and the pursuit law will be changed. Maybe there will even be a law specifying that the person who runs from the police is criminally and financially responsible for every MVA that occurs during the pursuit and that the officers are immune.

                          The most effective way to eliminate a bad law is through its vigorous enforcement.

                          The people of Ct. have been fooled. People should not be victimized due to bad laws. The pendulum should not have to swing either way.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Stan Switek
                            The people of Ct. have been fooled. People should not be victimized due to bad laws. The pendulum should not have to swing either way.
                            I agree. But we can't work with what "should be" the law, we have to work with what is the law.

                            Never underestimate the power of large groups of stupid people. They get new laws passed all the time.
                            Cogito ergo summopere periculosus.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by mobrien316
                              I agree. But we can't work with what "should be" the law, we have to work with what is the law.

                              Never underestimate the power of large groups of stupid people. They get new laws passed all the time.
                              I understand exactly what you are saying. In my experience, it is actually a small group of people with very loud mouths that influence the law makers. Was this law voted in or enacted by the elected law makers?

                              Comment

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