Pursuit / High Speed Police Chase
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.