We watch movies and video games that glorify the ultimate police chase. Everyone is on the edge of their seats hoping the protagonists ditches the police, dodges the busy streets and comes out victorious! It’s simple, in Hollywood movies, video games, simulations, etc. you can always walk away. In real life, police chases often end in violent crashes that kill, paralyze, or disfigure those who flee and innocent victims nearby. You can’t turn off the TV, pause the game, or walk away. This is real life.That is why it is essential to remind young adults or teenagers getting ready to drive about the importance of taking being pulled over by police seriously. Bandura’s Social Learning Theory argues that people learn and develop ideas from observations, modeling, and imitation. This said, younger generations are surrounded by new film technology that includes awesome CGI, graphics, animations and anything else that can transform an unfortunate chase scene into something “hard-core” and “EPIC.” This can be misleading especially to young adults starting to drive. These films are telling the story that police chases are cool and even more so if you get away and outrun the cops!
“Fast and the Furious,” “Need for Speed,” and “Dukes of Hazard” are only a few of the 1,000-plus films that contribute to glorifying police chases. Seeing these films over and over can have the effect of making someone feel invincible on the road. Especially after seeing a leading character hit a police car, roll their vehicle multiple times, land in a lake and walk away without a scratch. This isn’t realistic, and it is imperative we are reminded of that.
Too often the person killed isn’t the person fleeing, but an innocent victim that is usually a brother, sister or a best friend.
If you are not familiar with the term PIT, it stands for Precision Immobilization Technique. The first large law enforcement agency to teach PIT as a technique to halt fleeing vehicles was the Fairfax County (Virginia) Police Department, which modified the program for police use.
The video below shows a PERFECT example of the PIT being used to end a police chase. PursuitSAFETY wants to reduce the number of deaths and injuries by eliminating police pursuits and response call crashes. We are here to work with police officers in identifying when they should stop pursuing a car to avoid deaths of innocent bystanders and police officers themselves. In the case of performing a PIT, however, we encourage the use of this maneuver only if it is done correctly.
Throughout the video, we watch as the fleeing driver enters the wrong side of the road, goes through green lights, and dodges cars. The driver does everything possible to increase the risk of involving an innocent victim. During this pursuit, the police make the right choice to stop the chase by performing the PIT and decreases all possible risks of casualties. Once the vehicle was stopped everything slowed down; no police officers rushed to the driver, but they delegated each response.
We must remember the hazards of pursuits and the multiple lives that are endangered during the chase. Sometimes the PIT is not always the answer or cannot be performed in the safest manner. We encourage officers to continue to think outside the box and use any alternative routes to avoid accidents, especially on crowded roads.