Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Hartford Advocate

"One High-Speed Chase, Three Police Departments, Two Spike Strips, Six Civilians With Ruined Tires, And One Nonviolent Criminal. What The Hell Happened?" is the title, and the Hartford Advocate is the publisher.

On December 31st the police pursued a driver who fled a traffic stop, and before the events concluded 6 civilians had flat tires. I spoke to Jon Campbell for awhile, and the article is a good read.

John Phillips, president of the advocacy group Pursuit Watch, has been following police pursuits nationwide since 2002, when his sister, a civilian, died during a chase in Florida. She had stopped short to avoid Stop Sticks in the road, and was struck from behind by the fleeing suspect. Phillips echoed Scott’s sentiments about the wisdom of this particular chase.

“It seems like we’re lucky no one was hurt seriously, or, much worse, killed [in the Westport chase]. In hindsight was all of that worth the effort? What we feel is that unless the suspect was thought to have committed a violent crime, then pursuit is not worth the risk to the public or the officers themselves,” says Phillips.

Between 1997 and 2007, the last year for which statistics are available, an average of 354 people were killed annually as a result of police pursuits, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The victims include not only suspects, but also police officers and innocent drivers, which make up about a third of that total. Advocacy groups say the real figures are almost certainly higher than those compiled by NHTSA, because not all departments are required to report pursuit-related fatalities.

You can read the rest HERE.