Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Letter to the Editor

Below is a letter I sent to the editor of the Richmond Times Dispatch.

Re: In police pursuits, speed really can kill

Simply stated, the Henrico County Police Department must rethink their vehicular pursuit policy. First, it is simply not worth the risk to the officers and the public to pursue anyone who has not been suspected of committing a violent crime. We can run a license plate instantly, put a helicopter in the air in many cases, and radio to other officers in the area; all forms of technology that proves just because the initial officer does not chase does not mean the suspect will get away.

Next, police should not be concerned in making their policy public. Contrary to their argument, there is not some segment of the population waiting to hear what the policy is, and then refusing to pull over when asked now that they know they will get away. People either listen to the police, or they don’t. A vast majority of the time, those who flee are simply dumb young criminals who don’t want to go to jail, not vicious murderers. Just as important, a transparent policy can allow the department and the public to accurately evaluate if a pursuit should have occurred, and whether it was properly handled.

Unfortunately, it appears as if the Henrico County Police Department is not learning from the unnecessary death of Apostle Taylor, and it is just a matter of time before another innocent person is killed because law enforcement compounds the poor decisions of a young criminal with their own.

John Phillips

Orlando, FL


Anonymous said...

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 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.

editor, honest college said...

Police brutality has to be one of the biggest flaws of our country. The fact that we hire incompetent, unprepared, and careless citizens to protect us is appalling to me. Perhaps the flaw is really in police schools, and the selection process. I feel like policing, like public school teaching, aught to be placed much more highly on list of socially important jobs. Snafus like this would not happen as much then. Good post!

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