Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Milwaukee Policy Change, Virginia Legislation, and the BBC

First, here is my editorial regarding the change of Milwaukee's policy:

Several weeks ago the Milwaukee Police Department changed its pursuit policy to where officers can only pursue if they have probable cause that a violent felony has occurred. This is a progressive step for the department.

In late 2001, my then 20-year-old sister Sarah was on her way home from the movies when she was hit and killed by a man fleeing police. Like the four victims in Milwaukee since December 31st, Sarah’s case shows just how serious the decision to pursue must be taken.

Detractors argue that this will allow the bad guys to run wild on city streets. I could not disagree more. There is not a significant portion of the population on the fence waiting to hear what the policy is. People either listen to the police when asked to pull over, or they don’t. Those who don’t are usually young, stupid, and just don’t want to go to jail. Those who disagree with the policy change also need to understand that just because the initial officer loses sight of the suspect does not mean they will get away. Modern technology allows us to run a license plate in seconds, put a helicopter in the air, or simply radio other officers in the area.

As a friend and former police officer once told me, “Sometimes police forget that their job is not to catch the bad guy, but rather it is to protect the public.” Given this policy change, the Milwaukee Police Department understands this.

This has been submitted to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Next, a Delegate in Virginia is proposing "legislation to study the introduction of statewide guidelines for high-speed chases, a proposal that was prompted by the recent death of a Richmond pastor who was killed by a vehicle fleeing Henrico County police."

You can read the article HERE. It is very early in the process, but this looks like a step in the right direction.

Finally, I ran across a BBC story from late 2007 in which I am quoted. Check that out HERE.


Anonymous said...

There is nothing "progressive" about the change. And you are dead wrong, it WILL encourgage people to flee from the police. I really love the twisted logic you employ "modern technology". Let me tell you something, if a bad guy is willing to flee from one patrol car, he is willing to flee from every patrol car the radio can reach. He'll run from the helicopter. And let me tell you something else about that, not every police department has a helicopter or access to a helicopter. So, even if you get their license plate number, it is the rare circumstance that you can truthfully testify in court that you can positively ID the driver.

Bottom line, EVERYONE will flee. Don't want a ticket? Run, the cops won't chase you and when you go to court just say, "it wasn't me."

You cop haters never cease to amaze me with both your failure to understand the reality of police work and your twisted logic.

John Harriss Phillips said...

Anonymous, I diagree. I am not a cop hater. I have strong relationships with many in the LE community. I'll point out that when a patrol car makes the decision not to continue the pursuit, and disengages, the fleeing suspect will usually slow and attempt to fit back in with traffic. Just something to consider.