Police Chases For Non-Violent Offenses Continue To Kill

We read today a newspaper article out of an Indianapolis paper where two teenagers were killed following a police chase for a minor traffic infraction. Ironically, the police department in question had recently decided to review its own internal policies concerning high speed police chases. The current policy under review by the department would not have allowed the chase, which resulted in the death of the two teenagers. It bears repeating that many times the people that are killed in these chases are not the ones fleeing but rather innocent motorists who get caught up in the chase through no fault of their own. Literally, they are simply at the wrong place at the wrong time, doing nothing and yet they die. The question is whether any deaths (including a fleeing suspect’s) are worth the price to attempt to capture someone who is wanted for a traffic infraction.
Most policies today, which are enlightened, are those which prohibit unfettered police chases absent an imminent danger to the public. If a murder or rapist is fleeing, then they need to be captured because they are an imminent danger to the public. The same cannot be said for someone who is violating a traffic law. As many teenagers go joy riding in stolen cars, the question is whether we should chase them at 100 miles per hour or let them go and capture them using other police techniques. Do we need to immediately apprehend them such that we are willing to endanger the entire public? Are we willing to have the deaths of innocent motorists caused by the attempted apprehension of a joy riding teenager? These are the debates ongoing throughout the country. Fortunately, there is a heightened public awareness that police chases should be restricted to the more dangerous suspects who need to be immediately apprehended. Unless the suspect needs to be immediately apprehended (such as a violent felon), the police should let non-dangerous suspects go and try to capture them later, under safer circumstances.
For an interesting read on this debate in the Indianapolis community please go to the attached link and read the entire article:

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