The police want to send a message to criminals - if you break the law you won't get away with it. In fact, you simply won't get away - not if they can help it.
This often means dramatic high-speed police chases through our streets. And more and more these chases are ending in serious injury and even death. Is recovering that stolen vehicle worth the lives of innocent bystanders? Is catching the bad guy worth risking the lives of the police and suspects?
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, nearly 400 people die nationwide as a result of police chases. Of these fatalities, some were suspects and some were officers. But 30% were pedestrians or civilians in other cars - people who were simply in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Advocates against dangerous police driving acknowledge that chases are sometimes necessary - but only in rare occasions. Police can nab criminals without participating in dangerous high-speed pursuits on our city streets. Technology and other police tactics can be utilized.
People who are hurt or lose their lives as a result of a high-speed police chase are not "accident victims". They are assault and murder victims and their numbers are growing.
High-speed police chases in the news:
Aug-08-06: A Penobscot County deputy violated policy by pursuing a fleeing motorcyclist at a high rate of speed in a June 30 chase that ended when two law enforcement cruisers collided.
[BANGOR DAILY NEWS]
Aug-04-06: The man accused of killing a local teenager and injuring a toddler during a high speed chase with police has accepted a plea bargain.
Jul-26-06: A San Francisco police officer was killed as he responded to a chase in the city's Portola district. He was on his way to assist when stolen chase vehicle struck and killed him.
[SAN FRANCISCO SENTINEL]
Jul-22-06: Loved ones say police chase that killed innocent driver Kenneth Gadd was preventable.
Jul-01-06: A 9-month-old girl is in critical condition after a man allegedly running from Alameda County Sheriff's deputies slammed into her mother's car Friday night.
[BAY CITY NEWS]
Apr-07-06: A crash that occurred at the beginning of a police chase likely killed an innocent Oakland woman, according to authorities.
[Kristie's Law.org]: "It is time to safeguard our families against unnecessary police pursuits."
[PursuitWatch.org]: "The Campaign for Safer and Smarter Police Pursuits"
[Police Driving]: "Dedicated to law enforcement driver training with an emphasis on assisting officers and the public with a safer environment as it pertains to police pursuits."
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High-speed Police Chases: Deadly Pursuits
|. By Jane Mundy|
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