PursuitSafety.org is an interesting site devoted to stopping police chases of nonviolent criminals, and thereby stopping the deaths and injuries caused to innocent bystanders by these chases. They have a lot of good information there about statistics and commonly-held myths of police pursuits. Here is the Mission Statement and a little more information from the site:
By embracing its mission, PursuitSAFETY will, in partnership with others, work for a safer way to protect all of us from out-of-control and unnecessary vehicular police chases and non-emergency, first-responder calls.
“The fleeing driver does not care about my family’s safety or your family’s safety, so the burden to protect the innocent, by necessity, falls on the police to keep the public they serve and themselves safe,” Candy Priano, PursuitSAFETY’s Executive Director. PursuitSAFETY supports:
1. Police chase policies for known violent crimes; PursuitSAFETY does not support chases for nonviolent crimes.
2. Legislation that requires officers to follow their pursuit and first-responder policies. This may surprise some people, but the United States does not require officers to follow their pursuit policy, so in some states, such as California, officers are not required to follow the policy they have actually adopted. There is no accountability because of our state and federal immunity laws. Law enforcement agencies should welcome accountability to the public they serve.
3. Mandatory officer training and testing regarding police chases and first-responder calls.
4. An independent investigative team (comprised of officers from other agencies, victims’ advocates and non-law enforcement professionals) will review police vehicular pursuits and first-responder calls ending in death or injury.
5. Mandatory reporting of deaths and injuries resulting from vehicular police pursuits.
For the innocent victims, the families left behind and the public:
6. Provide a safe place for innocent victims and their families to turn to for the support they need.
7. Increase the public’s knowledge about this public safety issue through our educational programs, presentations, and public service announcements.
8. Sponsor and support legislation that makes all acts of fleeing and eluding the police a felony with mandatory prison time. For public safety purposes, the act of fleeing and eluding cannot be used as an excuse to justify a chase or to justify a continued and higher-risk chase.
9. Sponsor and support legislation to make the registered owner the presumed fleeing driver of a vehicle (such a presumption is rebuttable but the burden of proof shifts to the owner, who thereby becomes highly motivated to identify the family member or whomever else was driving the vehicle).
- Work to implement the above concepts;
- Be a resource for families of victims and victims of crashes caused by police chases and first-responder calls;
- Educate the public, potential high-risk offenders, police, and press about the inherent danger of vehicular police chases and first-responder calls;
- Conduct research;
- Provide a resource for law enforcement for the development and implementation of safe and responsible police chase and first-responder policies, procedures, practices and laws; and
- Sponsor programs and support pursuit polices that strike an appropriate balance between (a) apprehending fleeing drivers or responding to first-responder calls and (b) ensuring public safety.