Saturday, October 16, 2010

Response to Reader Comment

Recently, a reader of the blog responded to a post about a letter to the letter I submitted. Mr. Police Man, who runs a blog with the same name, wrote the following:

I don't mean this rude, as I understand where you are coming from, but why are you not fighting for more strict prosecution and greater sentences for the bad guys instead of going after the good guys trying to catch the bad guys for you?

That is what us on this side of the fense [sic] think. We are the guy running towards the bullets, putting our lives on the line at 10mph or 100mph. When does it ever come to the bad guy and his/her choice?

And let me state for the record that a stop sign, or speeding or broken tail light might not sound like all that important, but I've been doing this for 10 years and when I've been in a pursuit for those violations the suspect turned out to be a wanted murderer, car theft suspect, kidnapper, arson and many others. Do I go tell that family that I didn't chase the guy who just kidnapped their daughter, set her on fire and raped her because I wasn't 100% sure it was him driving the car that rolled through the stop sign? I hope this portrayes my frustrations. Take care and I look forward to more conversations.

Good post. I’d start out by pointing out that I certainly agree that there should be stronger penalties for those who flee the police. In my policy proposal for the Democratic nominee for Florida’s Governor Alex Sink I outlined a proposal to charge those who flee with at least a second degree felony instead of a 3rd degree. Our Mission Statement also argues that "fleeing and eluding should be a felony with mandatory prison time." If a fleeing criminal kills someone else I also argue they should be charged with murder, not manslaughter. After all, when you flee at dangerous speeds you know there is a very good chance you could hurt someone else.

We don't condone these poor decisions by who are usually young, dumb, males. However, we do believe that police should not compound bad decisions by criminals with risky behavior of their own. Of course this isn't saying that law enforcement doesn't have the best intentions. It just seems that sometimes law enforcement forgets that their job isn't to always catch the bad guys; rather it is to keep the public safe.

Next, you are right, a broken taillight might not sound like much but the suspect might be up to something much more serious. After all, when Ted Bundy was first arrested, he was pulled over for an invalid U-turn. He fled, police pursued and eventually arrested him. Unfortunately this in anecdotal evidence. Empirical evidence shows the most common crime committed, and assumed the reason for fleeing police, is that the car is stolen.

We simply believe that unless an occupant of the stolen vehicle has been suspected to have taken part in a violent crime that the dangers of pursuing for police officers and the innocent public do not make it worth it.