Sunday, July 27, 2008

The Huntsville Times

The Huntsville Times published a story concerning the death of Darren Spurlock, an innocent bystander who left behind his wife and children age 6 and 3.

John Harriss Phillips, president of the Florida-based, said an officer pursuing someone who has not committed a violent crime is akin to "shooting a gun in a crowded room. Sometimes, nothing will happen. Other times, you'll hit other people."

Phillips' interest in chases is personal. His sister, Sarah Phillips, died in 2001 in a crash with a fleeing vehicle in Orange County, Fla. Sarah's father, the late Jim Phillips, started PursuitWatch with the goal of pushing safer and smarter police pursuit policies. John Phillips took the helm of PursuitWatch when his father died.

"I think a lot of times, the negative perception is that if we don't pursue, the bad guys get away," Phillips told The Times by phone. Phillips questions the need for pursuit if police have a tag number or the identity of the suspect and there's no imminent danger to the public.

You can continue reading the story HERE.

Monday, July 7, 2008

PursuitWatch cited in New Zealand... I think.

In an article posted on Scoop, an independent New Zealand news company, the author quotes Dr. Alpert (friend of PursuitWatch) and I think... Us:

U.S. Pursuit expert Dr Geoff Alpert notes that under twenty percent of high speed chases are triggered by major offences in some States, and 1-2% typically result in death/s in regions with lax policies (AAA Foundation report).

The reason NZ's risk may be even higher is our extremely heavy Police presence - combined with the pressure of "performance measures" to be met on each shift. Quotas have made Police bounty hunters and that has had many serious ramifications for road safety.

Restrictive chase policies don't increase anarchy

Studies consistently show pursuits involve drug or drink drivers 1/2 the time, but Pursuit Watch advises pursuing impaired drivers is unwise.

Where policies have been upgraded in the interests of public safety in the U.S.A. road carnage has decreased, and done so in the absence of any reduction in conviction rates for crimes.

For more, go HERE.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Capt. Travis Yates: Driver training and the typical police agency

The following is an excerpt from an article written by Capt. Travis Yates at Yates, as well as Ron Kelley are friends of

Deputy Ron Kelley, a member of the International Law Enforcement Educators & Trainers Association and law enforcement driving instructor says it best when he discusses the “Three C’s”.

“Just because something has not happened, doesn't mean it won't in the future. This creates three human actions. We become complacent, careless and comfortable. All three are a path to tragedy.”

Is that tragedy waiting at your agency? In seminars, I often discuss the typical police agency:

• A pursuit or emergency run ends tragic.
• The media becomes involved and looks into the issue.
• Concerned citizens express their concern.
• The pursuit policy is changed in reaction to the third party involvement.
• Driver training is implemented.

The above scenario will either sound familiar to you or one day it likely will.

Unfortunately, the scenario mentioned above tends to be the archetype for strengthening a departments pursuit policy. I would venture out to say that 90% of the media requests I get start out along the lines of, "Hi Mr. Phillips, we had an incident here in ABC when XYZ did this."

To read the entire article, click HERE.