Thursday, April 22, 2010

USA Today

PursuitWatch was quoted in a USA Today story regarding departments second guessing their pursuit policies.

"The sad thing is when departments make changes, it's usually after something bad happens, and the public wakes up and says, 'What's going on here?' " says John Phillips, head of, a non-profit group advocating safe police chases. Phillips' sister, Sarah, 20, was a bystander killed in a police chase in Orange County, Fla., in 2001.

You can read the entire piece HERE, and if you are visiting PursuitWatch because of the story, please let me know what you think.


Anonymous said...

Let you know what I think? OK, I think you are a criminal's best friend. I think that in order to save 133 lives a year (assuming those numbers are good) you are going to cost us 10 times that number of lives when criminals who flee in cars later kill somebody else in a crime that would not have occurred had they been apprehended at the end of a pursuit. Someone who is evil enough to flee from police is evil enough to kill someone.

Tell me, exactly HOW are we supposed to know they guy fleeing is a felon or not? Sure, every now and then you actually see a car that is the subject of a BOLO. Most of the time you don't. Timothy McVeigh was caught as the result of a simple traffic stop. Under your ridiculous policy, he would flee to be at liberty again to blow up another day care center.

You should be ashamed of yourself.

John Harriss Phillips said...

Anonymous, thank you for your comment. First, I'm not ashamed of myself. Second, you ask "exactly HOW are we supposed to know they(sic) guy fleeing is a felon or not?" Sometimes you do, sometimes you don't. However, you must act according to what you know. You use McVeigh as an example. What about Wilfredo Pujols Jr. who was pursued after leaving the scene of an accident? During the chase he hit and killed Chris Cooper, a 17-year-old who was riding his bike. See what I did there? I can get anecdotal too.

Cheryl Cooper said...

Not only did police know who was driving the car that night, the pursuing officer called in the license plate during the chase, the KCPD helicopter was in the air within 3 minutes, and the victim of the first hit and run had a visual description of both suspects and their car. Additionally, the victim of the first hit and run was chasing the suspect at the same time as the police were. At one point through dispatch records, the police thought she was the suspect and had no idea who they should be chasing. Her car was not damaged to the point where she couldn't drive. The fact is, this chase was never necessary and escalated very quickly. I believe that the chase was the climax, built up as a result of two deaths in the past eight days where two suspects were chased and both killed. I feel that the pursuing officer in the Pujols chase simply was not willing to go back to the station and have to tell his supervisor he had not gotten his guy.

John Harriss Phillips said...

Cheryl, thanks for the comment. Today I posted an portion of the KC Star column about Christopher and the pursuit that killed him. Let's keep working...