Letters to the Editor
... input from forum participants


Hot Pursuit / High Speed Police Chase

Jan. 10th

I wish to commend the Commission for barring police chases even if only for a month. Ms. Linda McCoy, Mississippi, (Letter to the Editor, Jan 1st) is exactly right in her analysis and description of police chases.

My husband and I suffered life threatening injuries when our vehicle was hit by a St. Clair Shores, Michigan, unmarked police cruiser in 1977. Neither of us was expected to live--25 years later we are alive but the pain never goes away. But I won't go into that.

The police car that hit us was in pursuit of an alledged traffic violater. Minor traffic accident!

Most pursuits are alledged misdemeanors! Hardly worth killing and or maiming the innocent public. I tried for years to get police departments to re-think their pursuit policies to no avail. At the time (and it's probably still so) departments required on-going training / practice at the gun range. Little if any pursuit training was done, though the vehicle is a lethal weapon.

Many more police are injured / killed in high speed chases than in gun battles. Most officers never have to take the gun from its holster. They get into that police car every day.

I agree with Ms. McCoy--people who think no restrictions should be put on high speed chases have never suffered the pain of the results of that action [gone bad].

The police officers job is not an easy one. One would have to be completely stupid (or a criminal) not to appreciate the job they do for the communities.

But to give unquestioned authority to engage in high speed chases is also stupid. Make it a felony with strong penalties to try to elude the police.

Train the officers in pursuit [tactics]. It doesn't need to be high speed. Know when to terminate a chase.

Educate the public. Yes, educate the public.

I realize that when people are in trouble and / or hurt they want help to be immediate. When I was running [a] rescue [service] we had a saying, "they want you there 5 minutes before they call."

That's human nature.

Marie Gray