Pursuit PoliciesIt is expectation and belief that encourages us to trust the police. We trust the promise that law enforcement personnel and their departments are set up to protect us. We are grateful to the professional members of law enforcement who continue to strive to improve their pursuit and response-call policies. PursuitSAFETY believes pursuits should only be conducted when there is no other way to apprehend a fleeing driver who poses an imminent threat to public safety, i.e., to prevent future injuries and deaths. A life-saving policy works when it is mandatory that officers follow the policy. Policy Standards Geoffrey Alpert, an international expert who has research high-risk police activities for more than 30 years, states that the policy standards applied to the evaluation of a pursuit as well as to the decision to continue a pursuit needs to include the following three questions:
- If the pursuit were to result in injury or death, would a reasonable person understand why the pursuit occurred or was necessary?
- Is the need to immediately catch the suspect more important than the risk created by the pursuit?
- Do the dangers created by the pursuit exceed the dangers posed by letting the perpetrator escape?
- Orlando, FL, Police Department Pursuit Policy 2009 (pdf)
- Dallas, TX, Police Department Pursuit Policy (pdf)
- Checkpoint Avoidance Policy (pdf) A model policy to stop drivers who attempt to avoid DUI and vehicle safety checkpoints. Written by Ret. Police Chief Donald Van Blaricom, February 7, 2008.
Debunking the Myths “Fleeing drivers who are not chased will eventually be caught. Abandoning the pursuit does not mean the officer stops apprehension efforts; rather, the officer initiates other resources to bring about the apprehension.” —Lt. John Specht, Hillsboro, Oregon, PD.
Research proves that officers catch most criminals by good detective work, not by a chance encounter and not by a chase. Drivers who flee are going to flee no matter what the policy. People who will pull over appropriately today will do so tomorrow no matter what the policy. Click here to check out other myths.
Research to support our stance:*
- Review of Orlando. FL, PD’s Restrictive Pursuit Policy
- Phoenix Police Department Policy Change
- Press release from the LAPD about their Policy Review
- Department of Justice Study