Letters to the Editor
... input from forum participants


Changing the pursuit policy could be detrimental to public safety

Dec. 17th

To whom it may concern

I watched the news today, 12-17-02, and noticed that the chief of police in your jurisdiction is considering putting an end to pursuits that are generated from minor traffic infractions. I then saw a clip from what appeared to be the survivor of a police pursuit fatality. Her ire was manifest. It was guided at police department "hot heads" that didn't adhere to policy.

At some point in the progression of law enforcement administration police chiefs seemed to lose sight of their mission, which should be to protect society from predators. Recently the major concern of our leading law enforcement experts seems to be how to reduce their city's exposure to civil liability, rather than putting their efforts into innovative ways to pursue and apprehend violent criminals.

I don't live in your jurisdiction, however I see what is currently under discussion in your jurisdiction, discussed in the national arena. Minor infractions often times are indicitave of a greater odious plan. Stolen cars often don't have license plates. These cars are often used for robberies, like in Florida when several FBI agents were killed in a violent gun battle. Ted Bundy (hopefully we can agree that he was a negative influence on society) was initially caught for a minor traffic infraction that eventually turned into a pursuit.

Ultimately when law enforcement ignores these "minor violations" that turn into pursuits, they often times leave the public exposed to future trials and tribulations. Understanding this exposure to future harm, I hope the general public doesn't start pointing fingers later on down the road, when a Muhamed, and Malvo team isn't stopped for an apparently minor infraction that turns vicariously liable. Here in America, I'm afraid, people will always have a finger to point somewhere.

Good luck, you'll need it if you decide to procede with limiting the scope of police pursuits.

Martin Zemanek
Retired police officer
Santa Cruz, CA