John Harriss Phillips, president of the Florida-based PursuitWatch.org, 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.
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