OUR MISSION, OUR HISTORY
A national 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, PursuitSAFETY® is committed to reducing the number of deaths and injuries as a result of vehicular police pursuit and response call crashes. We are working for a safer way to prevent these tragedies from happening to others and to save lives, especially innocent bystanders and police officers.
Victims’ Advocacy: PursuitSAFETY® provides a safe place for innocent victims and bereaved families to turn to for the support they need.
PursuitSAFETY® advocates well-defined law enforcement policy to ensure the safety of both officers and the public they serve. We also advocate:
- limiting vehicular police pursuits to violent felony offenders, when the need to immediately apprehend a suspect is so great as to outweigh the inherent dangers of the pursuit to innocent bystanders and there is no other way to apprehend them,
- policies that clearly define speed limits for peace officers when they respond to calls,
mandatory training of officers in their agency’s pursuit policy at least every two years,
- mandatory reporting of deaths and injuries, as well as property damage, in pursuit-related collisions through NHTSA, and
- the removal of immunity shields for officers and agencies to ensure they do not violate their own pursuit and response call policies.
We advocate tougher, consistent penalties for fleeing drivers by pushing for legislation to make fleeing and eluding the police a felony punishable with mandatory prison time. We support civil forfeiture of the fleeing driver’s vehicle.
We support innocent victims of pursuits and response calls. We provide bereaved families and injured victims empathy and advice.
We research law enforcement’s use of pursuit, as well as practical alternatives to pursuit. We gather data on pursuit-related collisions. We research alternative methods of suspect apprehension.
The Safer Way Award® annually recognizes law enforcement officers who think “outside the box” to avoid triggering pursuits when apprehending suspects, executing arrest warrants, conducting traffic checkpoints, or engaging in other operations that target law violators who might flee. We also recognize departments who put in place sound policies and practices along with effective training programs.
Family and Friends Connection meetings held in various regions of the country bring together those bereaved by and injured in pursuits and response calls. The pain inflicted by pursuit-related crashes is magnified by the official silence that usually follows the death or injury. Innocent victims provide each other understanding and advice in the aftermath of a tragedy that we have found to be socially isolating.
Our Educational Program titled “Pull Over; Have No Regrets” targets young drivers, with emphasis on teens who reside in juvenile hall. Parents, educators, and the public of all ages need to teach young drivers that police pursuits kill—that the consequences for pulling over are much less than what could happen if they flee. Many times when drivers flee from the police, it leads to their death and the deaths of innocent bystanders.
Legislative Initiatives can help make safer suspect apprehension a reality. We asked Congress to add “pursuit reduction technology” to the list of allowable uses for Byrne grants to law enforcement.
We offer assistance to law enforcement through our online collection of pursuit facts, life-saving pursuit policies, and training resources.
We will speak about our work to your law enforcement agency, training academy class, civic association, or school. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for our list of available speakers.
Our History: A Note From Candy Priano
Founder and Victim Services Director
Welcome to a place where people unite.
PursuitSAFETY did not exist until 2007. Today, it is an established national nonprofit organization that assists innocent victims and their bereaved family members of vehicular police pursuit and response call crashes. We also work with law enforcement because all of us share a common goal: we want to prevent this tragedy from happening to others.
If you are a bereaved family member, friend of an innocent victim, or an injured victim impacted by the tragedy of pursuit, my heart aches with yours.
If you are a member of law enforcement, thank you for your service. Please visit our law enforcement section to find life-saving videos and information submitted by your peers. If you are a citizen who didn’t realize this really happens, I hope your visit will bring understanding to this public safety issue because the lives of innocent bystanders—like my daughter Kristie pictured here—are not acceptable collateral damage.
Five years after the death of my 15-year-old daughter Kristie, after reading and watching news stories showing how these tragedies repeat themselves, and after facing defeat in the California legislative arena where I fought for officer training and life-saving policy changes, I founded PursuitSAFETY. It was June 30, 2007, a day we quietly remembered that Kristie would have turned 21, when PursuitSAFETY became a reality. Of course, I didn’t do it alone. Other people whom you will read about on this web site work hard for PursuitSAFETY, the only national nonprofit civilian organization of its kind. We are committed to reducing the number of deaths and injuries as a result of vehicular police pursuit and response call crashes.
January 22, 2002—One minute, Kristie Priano was a 15-year-old honor student and community volunteer laughing with her brother in the back of the family minivan on the way to her high school basketball game. The next, she became one of hundreds who die each year across the nation from the violent crashes due to police pursuits. More than a third are innocent bystanders—just like Kristie. [Source: AP Wire Service]
What went wrong? The mother of a teenage girl called the police, complaining that her daughter was driving the family car without permission. She told the police where they could find her daughter. Within seconds, the chase was on through a residential neighborhood dotted with two-way stop signs. The teen and the police ignored stop signs even though intersecting streets had the right of way. At the intersection of the fifth, two-way stop sign, the teen T-boned our family van directly where Kristie was sitting. It took seven days for Kristie to die, but only a few hours for police to send the teen home with her mother. Kristie died from a massive closed-head injury, a crushed brain stem, and extensive swelling that caused her brain to rupture.
I believe that those officers could have caught that teenage girl another way—a safer way. I also believe Kristie’s story will save the lives of others.
PursuitSAFETY does not want this preventable tragedy to happen to your family. We’re working for a safer way.