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  1. #1
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    Fatal police chase

    Well, we talk about alot on here. But we haven't talked about the pursuit in CA that killed all those folks. So my question is....Are you still a, "Chase em till the wheels fall off" kind of cop, or do you now think about it just a bit more before you chase? I know we will discuss policy and procedure, I get that. What I want to know is if it has changed YOUR thinking. Stay safe, 37D

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    Not sure which pursuit you're talking about. There have been pursuits in probably every single state that have killed folks, sometimes our fault but usually not.

    As far as does it change the thinking, it's always about risks vs. reward.

  3. #3
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    I believe this is the one the OP is talking about:

    http://news.mobile.msn.com/en-us/vid...8-3a30dc85bb05

  4. #4
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    it is sad that so many innocent victims lost their lives.

  5. #5
    L-1
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    I fear you have me confused with someone else with your generalized assertion. I don't believe I ever advocated chasing until the wheels fell off.

    For that matter. If you listen to the audio tape of the pursuit http://www.fresnobee.com/updates/story/1592864.html the first thing the officer did when the suspect took off is call for a helicopter (listen for the word "Eagle") to take over tracking the car.

    You may wish to re-think your assumptions about your fellow officers.
    Going too far is half the pleasure of not getting anywhere

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by L-1 View Post
    I fear you have me confused with someone else with your generalized assertion. I don't believe I ever advocated chasing until the wheels fell off.

    For that matter. If you listen to the audio tape of the pursuit http://www.fresnobee.com/updates/story/1592864.html the first thing the officer did when the suspect took off is call for a helicopter (listen for the word "Eagle") to take over tracking the car.

    You may wish to re-think your assumptions about your fellow officers.
    If you are talking to me, you may have read more into the original post than I wrote. I never assumed anything about the Officer involved. I was asking folks, cops, if this may have changed their mind about the way we chase. I am not armchair quarterbacking the Officers involved, no way...no how. I never said you were the person who said, "chase them till the wheels fell off". That is a term we use in my area for certain agencies that will chase anything. If I were talking about you, I would have posted your screen name and your quote. And you may need to re-think your assumptions about me. Stay safe, 37D

  7. #7
    OH NO IT'S FIVE-O! PtlCop's Avatar
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    For an infraction, no. I know people will say, "but he's running for some reason other than the speeding/stop light violation/etc." It's just not worth it. The danger to me and the public far outweighs whatever unknown there is, or isn't. If it's a guy i've seen or suspect to have committed a felony, yes..go after them with vigor and vigilance, being mindful still of the danger to yourself and the public.

    There are few crimes in this world worth pushing it to the point where the danger to the citizens outweighs the benefit or need to catch the badguy.

  8. #8
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    Don't think that too many agencies have a "Chase em till the wheells fall off" philosophy these days. If they do, they seriously need to re-think their policies. I'm retired from an agency which places much responsibility for the conduct of the chase on the involved Officer.That Trooper is guided by what I consider to be a well grounded agency policy. It essentially gives the concerned Trooper the option of discontinuing the chase, if in the Trooper's judgement, the "risk no longer justifies continuing the chase. While a supervisor also has the authority to terminate/discontinue a chase, he does not have the authority to overule a Trooper who elects to discontinue a chase.Pefect policy? No. I'm not going to take a position relative to Department's which severely limit or prohibit pursuits. I have an opinion, but that's for another time. What I feel we all have to remember,is that there's no such thing as a "risk free" pursuit. Remember what another colleague recently posted relative to the media. "If it bleeds, it leads" Pursuits are no exception.

  9. #9
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    It's very sad and an unfortunate reality about our job. No matter what why or who we pursue there will always be those who question our motives in carrying on with a chase. But, this is only one aspect of the whole thing. Just two weeks ago in my county one of our local deputies was responding to a call running code and "T' boned another vehicle that crossed in front of him. Killed the female driver in the collision when her car caught fire. He was injured but survived. People questioned the need for his speed in that incident. Again it is all very sad and my heart goes out all involved but, it's also the sad reality of the job. Just my thoughts.

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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by PtlCop View Post
    There are few crimes in this world worth pushing it to the point where the danger to the citizens outweighs the benefit or need to catch the badguy.
    A very valid point. But, let's be honest with one another. When drivers run, we chase. The faster they go, the more determined we are to catch. The longer it last, the more ****ed we get...'that SOB aint getting away from me' mode kicks in quickly. We've all been there and it's a tough call. Most of the major chases are played on tv by the leach-media as if it were a video game. These are different times regarding fast police pursuits and I'm not sure the correct policy can be written. Nothing is normal in the business of catching criminals. It's kind of like writing the rule no helmet to helmet contract allowed in football, due to the potential life threatening injury that may occur. But it happens. It's an unfortunate part of the game. Police chases are an unfortunate part of catching criminals. Sometimes we injury one another. My cruiser was totaled when a wagon cut in front of us causing us to go LOC and hit a large utility truck. Fortunately only our pride was hurt. It happens. I really don't know what is the correct answer. Chase or don't chase. Or at what point is it proper to call it off?
    The views/opinions expressed here are solely mine. I'm retired and I don't care. I truly do not want to offend anyone, but if you are thin skinned and have no sense of humor, you better find another line of work. Therefore, I don't have to be politically correct and I will exercise my freedom of speech, until it's taken away. May God bless all retirees. We've done our duty and earned our peace.

  11. #11
    L-1
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    Quote Originally Posted by 37delta View Post
    If you are talking to me, you may have read more into the original post than I wrote.
    No, I think I understood your question fairly well. You post was

    Well, we talk about alot on here. But we haven't talked about the pursuit in CA that killed all those folks. So my question is....Are you still a, "Chase em till the wheels fall off" kind of cop, or do you now think about it just a bit more before you chase? I know we will discuss policy and procedure, I get that. What I want to know is if it has changed YOUR thinking. Stay safe, 37D

    The generally broad wording of your post suggested that all of us here have publicly stated that we would chase something until it's wheels fell off (which is not true) and now that multiple people had been killed you were wondering if we had reconsidered our reckless attitudes.

    Your statement peresumed facts not in evidence and paiting all of us in such broad strokes was insulting.

    The officer who initiated the putsuit in question immediately called for a helicopter so he he could terminate the chase. This challenged the whole premise of your question (chase till the wheels fell off), making me wonder what prompted you to ask such a question in the first place.
    Going too far is half the pleasure of not getting anywhere

  12. #12
    DAL
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    And I know an officer who terminated a pursuit when the suspect's driving became too dangerous. The suspect, however, continued driving recklessly and killed the driver of another car. Would that have been avoided had the officer's lights and sirens alerted the third-party driver to a danger of which he is unaware?

    And if you announce a policy that says "will will never chase you if you endanger others" will that encourage more reckless driving by suspects?

    There are many factors to balance. I don't know anyone who advocates a policy of "Chase em till the wheels fall off." It is impossible to create a "formula" that provides a definitive answer to the question of when to initiate or terminate a pursuit.
    Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored. -- Aldous Huxley
    Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity. -- Albert Einstein

  13. #13
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    wow great post, although I think the bad guy will slow down if he believes he has evaded the police.

  14. #14
    OH NO IT'S FIVE-O! PtlCop's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DAL View Post
    And I know an officer who terminated a pursuit when the suspect's driving became too dangerous. The suspect, however, continued driving recklessly and killed the driver of another car. Would that have been avoided had the officer's lights and sirens alerted the third-party driver to a danger of which he is unaware?

    And if you announce a policy that says "will will never chase you if you endanger others" will that encourage more reckless driving by suspects?

    There are many factors to balance. I don't know anyone who advocates a policy of "Chase em till the wheels fall off." It is impossible to create a "formula" that provides a definitive answer to the question of when to initiate or terminate a pursuit.
    Who knows, could be. Can't look at it like that though. We all know that nobody sees our lights anyway, and our siren is only good as a warning to other drivers when we're going about 50 mph and slower. I'm sure the officer has second guessed himself on that over and over and over again though, I know I would.

    I think not only would a "never pursue" policy encourage more reckless driving, but it would also be counter to our jobs as police officers. If we could attempt a traffic stop and the driver knows that all he has to do to avoid a ticket is speed up and the officer can't do anything...well that just won't fly.

    I think that any agency who allows their officers to pursue for ONLY a traffic infraction needs to reevaluate their policies. Issuing a ticket for running a red light or speeding is NOT worth the danger to me to initiate a high speed pursuit. If it's a misdemeanor or felony, ok...lets go after them until that moment when we realize that we're posing more danger and the risks outweigh the rewards.

  15. #15
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    I say chase em until they are caught. Oh well if you don't like it.

  16. #16
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    For unknown violation, no way, too much PERSONAL liability for me although I have had situations where I have called off a pursuit and a few that I should have. I am a strong advocate of supervisory control (don't hate the player) in some circumstances; id'ing what and why your chasing, road and speed conditions, etc. I guess I am just getting older and wiser (at least older). Be safe, just my opinion (and we know about those).

  17. #17
    Forum Member fordman318's Avatar
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    ...................
    Last edited by fordman318; 03-29-2010 at 12:23 AM.

  18. #18
    Forum Member Dep D's Avatar
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    First, and foremost, it is not the pursuing Officers fault that 7 people died in the pursuit. It is the fault of the criminal who ran from him.

    Second, the US Supreme Court affirmed this logic when they ruled in favor of Deputy Scott in Scott vs. Harris 05-1631.

    Scott had chased Harris for a SPEEDING violation. Harris drove recklessly trying to get away. Scott rammed Harris' car that crashed, and was paralyzed.

    In that decision it was affirmed that Scott did have qualified immunity, and cannot be held liable for the injuries for Harris, or any innocents.

    The pursuit is the responsibility of the subject being chased!!!

    You can go to http://www.aele.org/law/2007LRJUN/2007-06MLJ101.pdf for the Civil Liability portion of the case.

    Our chase policy says we chase stolen cars. We don't have a helicopter, but we chase stolen cars.

    We should chase everything until we, the pursuing LEO determines it is to dangerous to continue. End of story.

    As a side note, chasing scares me more than having a gun pointed at me, but... Chase!!

    We continually and routinely make life and death decisions on a daily basis and pursuits are second only to using a firearm.

    As Scalia says in the majority decision (paraphrased): "All a motorist has to do to get out of a ticket is to drive away at 90 miles per hour, and the Police Officer is required to stop the pursuit"?

    So to answer your question, no it does not make me think twice about not pursuing, but only invigorates, and reaffirms why we should pursue.

    I know it’s not the same thing but, the next time you contact someone for let’s say… speeding, and he points a gun, but doesn’t fire at you, run for cover and call out to him that you are not going to get into a fire fight with him…

    Tell him that his, and your errant shots may hit and injure or kill innocents and because you just contacted him for a “trivial” reason such as a traffic infraction, that “trivial” reason is insufficient to get into a firefight with him after he escalated it…

    Tell him to drive away in a safe and prudent manner…

    You or another LEO will eventually get him in a non-confrontational setting. I’m sure he is a frequent flyer…

    No. That’s silly? When he pointed the pistol at you but didn’t immediately fire, he probably was just acting recklessly, but didn’t REALLY mean to shoot/hurt you. He just wanted to get away…

    Of course if he pointed a gun at you, you wouldn’t fire first right? You would?

    I would.

    Would you firing first escalate the encounter? Yes.

    Would he fleeing your stop escalate the encounter? Yes.

    You are justified as a LEO to use all reasonable and appropriate force to stop the subject, he is not.

    I’m sure more articulate or intelligent LEO’s can shoot down my argument, but that’s the way I look at it.
    Be safe pulling back into the thread...
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  19. #19
    Relocation Expert madchiken's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fordman318 View Post
    You run, I chase
    +1

  20. #20
    Forum Member PPDSWD's Avatar
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    My departments policy is to only pursue vehicles if a forcible felony has been committed. After reading that article about the four children being killed I can understand why our policy is so strict.

  21. #21
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    ^ ditto for me...

    we don't chase. had a known DUI the other night who ran, and blacked out on me going through a residential area. another unit was also following him, and called into dispatch to let them know what we were up to, in case the SHTF, and suddenly there was our Lt's voice: "let him go".

    Bummer.

    The county though...their policy is pretty much "you run, we chase".

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dep D View Post
    First, and foremost, it is not the pursuing Officers fault that 7 people died in the pursuit. It is the fault of the criminal who ran from him.

    Second, the US Supreme Court affirmed this logic when they ruled in favor of Deputy Scott in Scott vs. Harris 05-1631.

    Scott had chased Harris for a SPEEDING violation. Harris drove recklessly trying to get away. Scott rammed Harris' car that crashed, and was paralyzed.

    In that decision it was affirmed that Scott did have qualified immunity, and cannot be held liable for the injuries for Harris, or any innocents.

    The pursuit is the responsibility of the subject being chased!!!

    You can go to http://www.aele.org/law/2007LRJUN/2007-06MLJ101.pdf for the Civil Liability portion of the case.

    Our chase policy says we chase stolen cars. We don't have a helicopter, but we chase stolen cars.

    We should chase everything until we, the pursuing LEO determines it is to dangerous to continue. End of story.

    As a side note, chasing scares me more than having a gun pointed at me, but... Chase!!

    We continually and routinely make life and death decisions on a daily basis and pursuits are second only to using a firearm.

    As Scalia says in the majority decision (paraphrased): "All a motorist has to do to get out of a ticket is to drive away at 90 miles per hour, and the Police Officer is required to stop the pursuit"?

    So to answer your question, no it does not make me think twice about not pursuing, but only invigorates, and reaffirms why we should pursue.

    I know it’s not the same thing but, the next time you contact someone for let’s say… speeding, and he points a gun, but doesn’t fire at you, run for cover and call out to him that you are not going to get into a fire fight with him…

    Tell him that his, and your errant shots may hit and injure or kill innocents and because you just contacted him for a “trivial” reason such as a traffic infraction, that “trivial” reason is insufficient to get into a firefight with him after he escalated it…

    Tell him to drive away in a safe and prudent manner…

    You or another LEO will eventually get him in a non-confrontational setting. I’m sure he is a frequent flyer…

    No. That’s silly? When he pointed the pistol at you but didn’t immediately fire, he probably was just acting recklessly, but didn’t REALLY mean to shoot/hurt you. He just wanted to get away…

    Of course if he pointed a gun at you, you wouldn’t fire first right? You would?

    I would.

    Would you firing first escalate the encounter? Yes.

    Would he fleeing your stop escalate the encounter? Yes.

    You are justified as a LEO to use all reasonable and appropriate force to stop the subject, he is not.

    I’m sure more articulate or intelligent LEO’s can shoot down my argument, but that’s the way I look at it.
    Not to start a ****ing contest or anything like that, but I believe the issue from the plaintiff was that the officer violated his fourth amendent by using unreasonable seizure methods (i.e. ramming suspect vehicle with patrol car), which led to his paralysis. I don't think this case has anything to do with chases and crashes into innocent victims, just the method the officer used to apprehend the offender.. Cops are still being held civilly and criminally liable for pursuits..

    Our department's general orders allows the officer to make the decision, pretty much have to factor the crime committed, weather, traffic, etc. Also have to call out certain things during the pursuit, so the supervisor can decide if he/she wants it called off. Pretty much, it's a policy that says, "great, you caught the guy without incident, you used good judgement", but if something bad happens, "you didn't use good judgement, what in the hell were you thinking?"... It's a no-win situation...
    Last edited by iamacop; 08-22-2009 at 08:10 AM.

  23. #23
    Forum Member Dep D's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by iamacop View Post
    Not to start a ****ing contest or anything like that, but I believe the issue from the plaintiff was that the officer violated his fourth amendent by using unreasonable seizure methods (i.e. ramming suspect vehicle with patrol car), which led to his paralysis. I don't think this case has anything to do with chases and crashes into innocent victims, just the method the officer used to apprehend the offender.. Cops are still being held civilly and criminally liable for pursuits..

    Our department's general orders allows the officer to make the decision, pretty much have to factor the crime committed, weather, traffic, etc. Also have to call out certain things during the pursuit, so the supervisor can decide if he/she wants it called off. Pretty much, it's a policy that says, "great, you caught the guy without incident, you used good judgement", but if something bad happens, "you didn't use good judgement, what in the hell were you thinking?"... It's a no-win situation...
    I don’t disagree with anything you wrote in the post, the part about innocents being hurt was what I remember from articles and news reports at the time.

    I BELIEVE you still have qualified immunity under the same logic that the subject is responsible for the chase, that being said, I may be wrong, but I don’t think so.

    Yes, your right we are still being held civilly and criminally liable for (bad) pursuits, but if you pursue in a manner where you follow policy and procedure, are articulating speed, lane, condition, etc., and a crash happens with the various injuries, destruction of property etc., you will have qualified immunity.

    The reason why the Supreme Court took the case was for the fourth amendment brought up by Harris, but the outcome was if you are driving your vehicle in a reckless manner which endangers the life of innocents, which in my opinion, includes the pursuing officer, the officer is justified in using force, up to and including deadly physical to stop you.

    A 2000 pound car being driven recklessly 30 mph let alone 110 mph is a deadly weapon.

    We are charged with stopping people from using deadly weapons when they are not justified to using them.

    That deadly weapon being driven erratically in multiple directions without regard for life needs to be stopped as safely, and quickly as your circumstances, equipment, road and weather conditions, or in other words the Totality of the Circumstances allows for.

    I understand the moral and political ramifications of a chase can be the same, or sometimes greater than a shooting, that is why this decision is so important to us.

    I know we have some lawyers on here, maybe they could interject…
    Be safe pulling back into the thread...
    http://infidelswithhonor.com/

  24. #24
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    Maybe it's because I'm still a rookie (just over 2 yrs) but I have yet to meet a violator who ran from me that didn't have a warrant or felony charge pending, or who wasn't revoked or committing or had just committed some other kind of more serious crime. Just my experience so far though... Every one of them have been bad guys.

  25. #25
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    Chase until ordered to terminate. If the wheels fall off in the meantime...
    "You don't want the truth because, deep down in places you don't talk about at parties, you want me on that wall, you need me on that wall... I have neither the time, nor the inclination to explain myself to a man who rises and sleeps under the blanket of the very freedom that I provide, and then questions the manner in which I provide it."

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