Opinion Articles and Editorials
Conversations with officers, legislators, innocent victims and their families, and people not impacted by a police pursuit reveal that most of us not only have an opinion, but many of us stand fast in our polarized position: We are either pro-chase or anti-chase. And, the emotion behind our position is obvious no matter what side we take. PursuitSAFETY's stand is neither. We support pursuits for known violent criminals as long as they don't occur during times of busy traffic, prime time in residential neighborhoods, and streets with poor visibility, curves and hills. Read what others have to say about the inherent dangers of police pursuits:
The Unwritten Policy
Exclusive to PursuitSAFETY, November 23, 2009: It is expectation and belief that encourage us to trust the police. We trust the promise that law enforcement personnel and their departments are set up to protect us. We rely on them to catch criminals, prevent crime, keep the peace, maintain order, serve the public, and, in general, keep the citizenry safe. The National Police Ethics Committee states that, “The primary responsibility of the police service and of the individual officer, is the protection of the people of the United States through the upholding of their laws....” In fact, we, the general public, expect the police to perform the job for which they were hired: to be the representatives of government responsible for public safety and social order. This is what we expect. This is what we believe. This is what we trust.
Perspectives: Not So Black and White
The Daily Journal, California, September 30, 2009: California has one specific area of law which is shamefully unique among the fifty states. California Vehicle Code Section 17004.7 provides near absolute immunity to law enforcement for injury to innocent bystanders caused by poorly executed police vehicle chases. All other states provide for at least some form of liability. Only California makes redress in court effectively impossible. Underneath that rigid view of right and wrong is an implicit balancing test diminishing the value of the persons drawing the negative lottery ticket. That human roadblock [innocent bystander] is an abstract entity until the number is drawn. Thereafter, it is Kristie Priano. California's one specific area of law which is shamefully unique among the fifty.
Editorial: How can lives be so cheap?
The Philadelphia Inquirer, June 12, 2009: The shocking deaths of three children and a young mother mowed down Wednesday night by a speeding car that Philadelphia police say was fleeing a gunpoint motorcycle theft were as senseless as they were avoidable. No one should die for doing something as ordinary as gathering outside their homes on a warm spring evening and playing on the pavement in the city's Feltonville section.
How many deaths before it's not okay?
The Conservative Voice, September 19, 2007: Sowell reports an estimated 500 people died as a result of crashes from high-speed chases last year; nearly half were innocent. This statement alone begs the question: How many deaths would it take for it not to be okay? If the blameless person is your loved one, the answer is one. How many deaths before it's not okay? is an opinion article by Candy Priano. It is is a rebuttal to Thomas Sowell's column High-speed car chases by the police (pdf)
Pursuit policies need an overhaul
Dothan Eagle, Dothan, Alabama, July 23, 2007: Now James Williamson's family — his wife, his mother, two sons, five grandchildren, three sisters and a brother — have a funeral to plan and a long road of mourning and heartache ahead. Why? Because Philip Lutz didn’t stop his truck when a patrol car attempted to pull him over in Jackson County, Fla. Lutz, who has two felony warrants for eluding police, took off.
The Washington Post, June 16, 2007: ANOTHER terrible crash on the Capital Beltway: Four young women were killed and a fifth was injured Thursday night; three of the victims had graduated from West Potomac High School only hours before. Our hearts go out to the families. Meanwhile, nearly three weeks have passed since a seven-vehicle pileup on the Beltway claimed two lives, and we know little more about what happened now than we did the night of May 30. At the time, police told reporters that an officer was chasing a motorcyclist and, in the process, rammed another vehicle, which sailed over a median rail and onto the Beltway's inner loop. Five other cars traveling in the inner loop then crashed. The driver and passenger in the car that jumped the median both died, and 15 people were injured. The officer who allegedly gave chase is on administrative leave. There is a video record of the matter, caught by a camera in the police cruiser, but the motorcyclist is still at large.
Editorials and opinion articles published from 2003 to 2006 are posted at KristiesLaw.org.