Real Police Chases

BAD OUTCOMES 2: Monona continues down a dangerous path

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A few weeks ago we wrote about some truly poor decisions made by the Monona City Council (MCC) and the Monona Police Department (MOPD). You can read that article here:  BAD OUTCOMES: Monona’s Poor Decision to Weaken Police Pursuit Policy in 2022 Results in Unnecessary Deaths

We sincerely hoped, after the still-unexplained pursuit that killed three people, Monona would come to its senses and permanently revert to their previous pursuit policy limiting when officers can pursue (e.g. not for misdemeanors or non violent-felony actions).

Sadly, we should have known better…

The taxi in which Paul Farris (PFC Chief Advocate’s son) and Walid Chahine were killed and Katelyn Hoyt was grievously injured. May 27, 2007. Somerville, MA

Monona logged 249 pursuits from 2019 through 2023.

The sheriff’s office, which patrols areas not covered by municipal police departments, participated in the next most, or 213. Madison saw 112 during that same period. Madison.com

So where is MOPD now. Let’s see.

First was the Chief’s interview very soon after the deadly pursuit. His January 5th “statement” is a lesson in dredging for any possible reason to “justify” a weak policy. This is IDENTICAL to statements made by virtually every other agency with equally weak and mismanaged pursuit policies. You can read that @WKOW story here:  ‘The officer was acting lawfully’: Monona Police chief speaks out following fatal pursuit.

Second, as predicted, on January 17th the MOPD announced their decision to reinstate the “open” pursuit policy and let officers pretty much chase for any reason (e.g. just say “reckless” and then it’s OK).  I mean, the DCI hasn’t even finished their investigation of the January 3rd pursuit and deaths, yet MOPD wants to start chasing even more – again???  Yet another BAD DECISION.

In this Madison.com article, Monona moves to reinstate police pursuit policy after fatal New Year’s Day crash, the Chief was quoted:

“He said the decision not to pursue a suspect could result in more danger to the public than if police do try to pull over a vehicle, such as when a driver appears extremely intoxicated. “Reckless driving, drunk driving, drugged driving, dangerous driving kills every day,” he said. “In this country it has taken so many lives.””

So let’s think about this.

If an officer believes a suspect is truly drunk, drugged or impaired in any other manner, why in world would a city allow that officer to CHASE them – at even higher, more dangerous speeds.

That driver is IMPAIRED. Chasing them does not make them less impaired – rather it creates a situation where the likelihood of that impairment causing great bodily harm to others is increased exponentially.  

We should not lay all the blame for poor decisions on the new Chief.  The Monona City Council, and perhaps Alderman Patrick DePula specifically, carry the greatest culpability in allowing such a policy to be reinstated.

The Council will be back in the news, very likely in 2024, when more INNOCENT CITIZENS are killed or maimed in an unnecessary misdemeanor violation police chase. I suspect the city’s insurer may be interested in the history of MOPD’s policies, because the likelihood of a justified, multi-million dollar lawsuit, is imminent under current policies.

Oh, MOPD, did you know that there are technology and driver training tools available designed to PREVENT UNNECESSARY PURSUITS?  Yes, there are.

It breaks my heart that others will also need live with the knowledge that a poorly thought out decision and a misguided pursuit policy took the life of someone they love. I hope it’s not a member of your family or a close friend…

 

And finally.

Just in case you think we’re the only ones who think that MOPD’s pursuit policy is bad, we’re not.  Read the excellent 1/21/2024 WSJ opinion. [Wisconsin State Journal] OUR VIEW: Monona should rethink, tighten policy on police pursuits in wake of triple-fatal crash

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RECKLESS PURSUITS – Kansas City Star 2024 Series

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I’ve had the honor of working with reporter Katie Moore at the Kansas City Star over the past several months. She and Glenn Rice have published the first in a series of eight, relating to out of control police chases in the Kansas City metro area.  This particular article is truly EXCELLENT.  Great detail, heartfelt, and really well written.

I always appreciate the opportunity to support the media and I’m glad to have been involved here.

Jonathan Farris – Chief Advocate, Pursuit For Change


Image KC Star

Police chases in KC metro kill bystanders. One department chases more than any other

 

BY KATIE MOORE AND GLENN E. RICE
UPDATED JANUARY 19, 2024 12:13 PM

 

When Jake Monteer was 12, his father let him take his motorcycle for a spin near their home on Spruce Street in Bates City.

Jake climbed on, confident that he could keep it upright. And he was off. In some ways, he never looked back.

Growing up in the small town just east of Kansas City, Jake’s passion for motorcycles only grew. As an adult, he learned how to fix bikes and rode from daylight to dark.

“I think he just liked feeling free,” his father, David Monteer, said.

Jake Monteer was 41 years old last March, when he and a friend hopped on his motorcycle with a pizza to share. They were driving in Independence when a Jeep, fleeing police in a high-speed chase, hit them.

They both died.

“It feels like part of your heart is ripped out,” David Monteer said during an interview with The Star.

As weeks and months passed, he and his wife Terri Monteer learned more about the circumstances of their son’s death. They found out that police were chasing the Jeep because it was stolen and not for a more serious crime. That one of the officers in the chase had been involved in a previous pursuit that left four people dead. And that it was when police laid down stop sticks in front of the Jeep that it lost control and hit their son’s motorcycle.

“Since when is a stolen vehicle worth somebody’s life?” David Monteer said. “That’s my question.” It’s a question other families have asked after previous high-speed pursuits by Independence police that seem to repeat the same pattern again and again.

Read the rest of the story at the Kansas City Star website – HERE

A few stats from their research – also posted in the KC Star article.  Disturbing to say the least:

Police Chase Findings Reporters interviewed local police leaders, national law enforcement experts, academics who study chases and advocates for safer policing. The results of their reporting are being published in an eight-part series.

  • In 2022, more than 1,200 police chases took place in the Kansas City metro, resulting in over 150 crashes and 51 injuries. Independence accounted for 33% of those injuries.
  • The Independence Police Department initiated 330 chases in 2022. Kansas City, which is four times larger in population but has a more restrictive policy governing police chases, recorded 98.
  • Over the past six years, eight people have died in chases involving Independence officers. Six were innocent bystanders, one was a passenger in a fleeing car and one was a fleeing driver.
  • According to a report by the Police Executive Research Forum, 70% of police departments placed narrow restrictions on when a chase is warranted. In the Kansas City metro, the rate is about 56%.
  • Where data was available, 17% of the chases violated department policy.

 

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BAD OUTCOMES: Monona’s Poor Decision to Weaken Police Pursuit Policy in 2022 Results in Unnecessary Deaths

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by Jon Farris, Chief Advocate, Pursuit For Change

BAD OUTCOMES: Monona’s Poor Decision to Weaken Police Pursuit Policy in 2022 Results in Unnecessary Deaths

During the past several weeks, police chases in Monona have taken an even more horrible and deadly turn. READ MORE HERE

But this should not be unexpected.

“In November 2022, the Monona City Council approved a change to the policy governing when police can engage in vehicle pursuits, removing the requirement that the people being pursued must be suspected of having committed a violent felony or that they were about to commit one.” The new policy included a dozen factors for officers to consider when deciding whether to pursue a fleeing vehicle, including “whether the suspect represents a serious threat to public safety,” “the safety of the public in the area of the pursuit” and whether the person fleeing has been identified and could be safely arrested later. That expanded a previous policy, adopted in 2020, in which the City Council changed the requirement that police have “reasonable suspicion” that a violent felony had been committed to instead permit pursuits if police had “probable cause” that such a crime had occurred.” READ MORE HERE

This decision, as anyone with even an ounce of common sense would know, has resulted in more pursuits, crashes, injuries and deaths. READ MORE HERE

And let’s talk very briefly about leadership. Brian Chaney has been Monona’s police chief for only a short while, and he came from the Madison PD, which maintains a safe pursuit policy. However Chief Chaney’s recent comment mimics the bluster made by Milwaukee’s Chief in 2018, after they opened up virtually unlimited pursuits.
We don’t play,’ Monona police chief warns criminals after two chases.

This is not what leadership is about. What message does this send to his officers? And it definitely provides NO VALUE in reducing crime. Criminals do not open the newspaper to see what the Chief is saying, nor do they care even if they do hear it or read it online. Get real folks.

However, off the cuff comments like this can embolden Monona police officers to make poor decisions, likely not made under prior leadership or when following stricter engagement and pursuit policies.

If all of this seems like déjà vu, it should, because Monona is heading in the same direction as the Milwaukee Police Department.

BAD DECISIONS. BAD OUTCOMES. PEOPLE DYING.

In 2017, the Milwaukee Fire and Police Commission FORCED the Chief to loosen what was one of the better police pursuit policies in the United States. And every moment since then has resulted in horrible outcomes, including deaths of innocent citizens and police officers.

THIS IS WHERE MONONA IS HEADING. MOPD AND THE MONONA CITY COUNCIL NEED TO TAKE A DEEP BREATH AND REASSESS THEIR CURRENT, WEAK PURSUIT POLICY THAT EXPOSES CITIZENS AND OFFICERS TO UNNECESSARY INJURIES AND DEATH.

Milwaukee Police chases have skyrocketed in the last five years. READ STORY HERE

Here’s an article we wrote, showing results from Milwaukee’s pursuit police change. And as in virtually every city, when policies are weakened, more citizens die…

Opinion: Milwaukee Gambles with Citizen and Officer Lives. December 10, 2018
On Thursday, December 6, the Milwaukee Police Department announced that carjackings were down and @Fox6Now Milwaukee  reported that “police credit change in pursuit policy for dramatic decrease in carjackings.” This is a story about the City of Milwaukee and their quest to reduce joyriding and stolen vehicles. It is an honorable mission, but they are using a very deadly battle plan … Continue reading

 

So what do truly experienced and more rational law enforcement professionals have to say about police chases? NHTSA and the Department of Justice’s COPS Office asked the Police Executives Research Forum (PERF) to develop vehicular pursuit guidelines for police departments and sheriffs’ offices. They will tell you that Monona is doing it wrong…

PERF REPORT SUMMARY:

The report contains 65 recommendations across six topics:
   – agency philosophy and policy standards;
   – the role of a supervisor;
   – pursuit interventions, pursuit alternatives, and technology for managing risks;
   – post-pursuit reporting;
   – training; and
   – community engagement.

They recommend that agencies only pursue suspects when two conditions are met: (1) a violent crime has been committed and (2) the suspect poses an imminent threat to commit another violent crime.  Links to everything about the PERF Report is in an earlier published article HERE.

Chief Chaney and the Monona City Council need to strongly reassess the current pursuit policy. If they continue with no changes, Monona residents can expect to see MORE DEATHS, MORE INJURIES, LAWSUITS WITH MILLION-DOLLAR JUDGEMENTS AGAINST THE CITY, MORE EXPENSIVE INSURANCE PREMIUMS FOR THE CITY and more…

I told the Milwaukee Fire and Police Commission this exact same message in 2017, but they didn’t listen. And in 2018 a police officer was killed, several innocent citizens were killed, and the lawsuits commenced.  All of these outcomes and problems continue unabated in 2024.

I truly hope Monona makes the smart decision…

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Houston Chronicle Police Pursuit Investigative Series – 2023

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For many months I’ve been working with , an investigative reporter at the Houston Chronicle. She and other HC staff have done / and continue to dig into Houston’s HORRIBLE #PoliceChase actions and outcomes.

This has turned into a multi-part series which YOU REALLY NEED TO READ – their findings are amazing and frightening.

Here are the first 5 stories. I’ll continue to post as they publish more in 2024.

Jonathan Farris, Chief Advocate, Pursuit For Change
11/2/2023

@andreeball @houstonchron


How Houston evades blame for bystanders wounded by high-speed police chases

What is left of a memorial for Carl Wiley, 35, who was killed at the intersection of Wilcrest Drive and Meadowglen Lane in February 2022.

Photographed on Sunday, Dec. 17, 2023 in Houston.
Elizabeth Conley/Staff Photographer

Dec 28, 2023

When you’re victimized by a high-speed police chase in Houston — when your relative dies in a crash, when a fleeing vehicle sideswipes your car, when you are maimed — justice will likely elude you.

The city fights you. They’ll refuse to pay.

The courts stifle you. They’ll dismiss your case.

The lawyers reject you. They’ll say it’s not worth it.

The system that should right wrongs will almost never help innocent bystanders.

The Houston Police Department’s policies led to a 47% increase in high-speed pursuits between 2018 and 2022, peaking at more than 1,500 last year. One in three of those chases resulted in a crash, injuring or killing at least 240 innocent bystanders. A least 10 of them died.

Meanwhile, untold numbers of people have suffered damage to their houses, sheds, cars, lawns, mailboxes and other personal property.

Yet almost none of them got any relief from the city to help cover their losses, a Chronicle investigation found.

Read the rest of the story HERE


A police chase plowed over an innocent bystander. Scorched and mangled, now he wants answers.

Courtney Lane lifted his heavy eyelids for the first time in two days.
He slowly scanned the room for clues. Medical bed. Clear tubes in his veins. Fresh white bandages bulged from his arms, legs, shoulder and chest.

He pushed through the haze of painkillers as memories of the crash returned in fragments.

Sitting in traffic on his motorcycle on Feb. 21, waiting for the light to change. The banging of metal. The flaming gas tank. The Honda Accord dragging him 150 feet up North Houston Rosslyn Road as it bashed its way through traffic, with police in pursuit.

The hovering helicopter. The anxious medic. Then nothing.

Read the rest of the story is here:

 


HPD sees high-speed chases plunge 40% after Chief Troy Finner implements tighter policies

High-speed chases initiated by Houston police have dropped 40 percent in the month since Police Chief Troy Finner tightened pursuit policies, the chief told members of the City Council on Wednesday.

Chase-related collisions also dropped 35 percent this month compared with the monthly average so far this year, Finner said.

Finner said the department was “forced to change the policy” due to a steady increase of pursuits and pursuit-related crashes, injuries and deaths over the past year. So far in October, there have been 46 pursuits reported, according to data provided to council members. There were 132 pursuits in August, the last full month before the changes were made Sept. 14.

“In this city, violent individuals commit crimes in those vehicles,” he said. “So we can’t just abandon the pursuits. But we are working smart.”

Finner said the new policy has also led to more successful pursuit terminations. Over the past month alone, pursuits terminations have increased by 35 percent, he said.

Read the rest of the story is here:

 


HPD to halt police chases for certain offenses in major change aimed at safety

Members of the Houston Police Department and Houston Fire Departments work the scene of a fatal accident after a police chase involving two suspect in a stolen vehicle ended at Martin Luther King Boulavard and Ben Fleet Street, Thursday, Sept. 7, 2023, in Houston. Gloria Collins, the mother of an HPD sergeant, died. Two others were injured. 

Members of the Houston Police Department and Houston Fire Departments work the scene of a fatal accident after a police chase involving two suspect in a stolen vehicle ended at Martin Luther King Boulavard and Ben Fleet Street, Thursday, Sept. 7, 2023, in Houston. Gloria Collins, the mother of an HPD sergeant, died. Two others were injured. 

Houston’s police chief unveiled sweeping changes to the department’s vehicle pursuit policy Thursday that might have prevented hundreds of crashes, had those changes been made earlier.

From 2018 through 2022, eight people died and 137 were injured after officers chased 2,200 drivers suspected only of traffic violations or failing to stop for police. Now, those practices are banned, Chief Troy Finner said.

“We’ve got to do even better, and the system as a whole has to do better,” the chief said.

Under the new policy, officers can no longer chase drivers suspected of Class C offenses, such as theft and minor traffic violations — the leading cause of HPD vehicle pursuits in the past five years, a Houston Chronicle analysis found.

HPD will also stop chasing people suspected of having traffic or nonviolent misdemeanor warrants, although supervisors can continue to approve chases of suspects in ongoing investigations and people driving vehicles with stolen license plates, no plates or plates that belong on another vehicle.

Read the rest of the story is here:

 


HPD’s loose policy enables rise in high-speed chases that killed bystanders

High-speed chases launched by the Houston Police Department increased 47 percent over a five-year period, killing more than two dozen people and injuring hundreds more, a Houston Chronicle investigation has found.

Between Jan. 1, 2018, and Dec. 31, 2022, officers engaged in 6,303 chases. Twenty-seven people died during those pursuits, and at least 740 people were injured.

At least 240 of the dead and injured were bystanders, including a man who’d just left a grocery store, a man walking to get a haircut and a Lyft driver with a passenger in his car.

To document the toll high-speed chases are taking citywide, the Chronicle analyzed more than 5,000 post-pursuit forms filled out by officers, filed a dozen-plus public information requests and spoke to family members of bystanders who were killed.

Read the rest of the story is here:

 

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2023. Seventeen Birthdays

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November 2, 2023
17 Birthdays

Here we go again. Another year, another birthday.  Had Paul lived he’d be celebrating his 40th birthday today.  Today is the 17th missed birthday since his death as an innocent in a #PoliceChase.

This year he’d have so many thoughts on what’s happening around the world. In 2006 Paul traveled with a group of students to visit Israel. He was introduced to their history, their sights, their people and so much more. It was a wonderful experience. 

   

So I wonder about Paul’s reactions to today’s events
  • to the heinous Hamas extremist attacks on and killings of innocent Israelis
  • to Israel’s actions to find and exterminate extremist Hamas members
  • to the deaths of the innocent, non-combatant Palestinians
  • to the deaths, absolute horrors and atrocities in Ukraine
  • to the hate – seemingly spewing everywhere – across our country and across this troubled world  
For sure he’d be appalled and incredibly sad. And perhaps he’d be engaged in meaningful efforts to enact positive changes.  I’d like to think so.
Pray for the killing to stop and dream for the miracle of peace. 
I miss you Paul – today on your birthday, and every other day – forever.
         – Jonathan Farris, Dad and Chief Advocate of Pursuit For Change
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Sometimes Screams Are Heard

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Sometimes screams aren’t heard.

I suspect that was the case when I received a call at 4:00 AM telling me my son Paul had been killed in a car crash. That was on May 27, 2007, a lifetime ago.

And when, shortly later, I learned that his death was caused because of a totally unnecessary, minor traffic violation police pursuit, my screams increased.

And so came my entrance into the advocacy to change mindsets regarding the necessity of police pursuits for anything other than for violent felonies. I’ve been “screaming” ever since.

Well, sometimes your screams are heard. And sometimes those who hear DO want to help.

Below are links to a recently completed study and comprehensive review of police pursuits. This project was supported, in whole or in part, by federal award number 2020-CK-WX-K035 awarded to the Police Executive Research Forum by the U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Community Oriented Policing Services. The publication is distributed by the U.S. Department of Transportation, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, in the interest of information exchange

So what will become of this report and these excellent recommendations?  I don’t know, but I’ll keep screaming until legislators and law enforcement hears that chasing until the wheels fall off is both stupid and danger, and changes are necessary.

I’ll keep my fingers crossed.

Jonathan Farris
Chief Advocate
Pursuit For Change

@chester_jonah @jennifergollan @andreeball @katie_reports #PursuitForChange @PursuitResponse @StarChaseLLC #PursuitReductionTech @FAACsimulators @PursuitAlert @SpartanTekOrg @OnStar @benjordan3


September 23, 2023

Police pursuit policies should be more restrictive to save lives

By Chuck Wexler, Executive Director, PERF
COMPLETE LETTER IS HERE:
https://www.policeforum.org/trending23sep23

PERF members,

Vehicle pursuits are part of what distinguishes the police from any other occupation. Hollywood has recognized this and featured pursuits in many films. Growing up, I remember watching Gene Hackman commandeer a citizen’s car and take it on a harrowing chase as an NYPD detective in “The French Connection.” But, as you all know, the reality of police pursuits is anything but glamorous.

Earlier this week you received PERF’s new report on pursuits. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), fatal crashes involving police pursuits kill more than one person every day; 525 people were killed in 2021, and 545 were killed in 2020. According to Law Enforcement Management and Administrative Statistics (LEMAS) data from 2009 to 2013, 21 percent of those seriously injured in police pursuits are individuals not involved in the pursuit….

 

…The report contains 65 recommendations across six topics: agency philosophy and policy standards; the role of a supervisor; pursuit interventions, pursuit alternatives, and technology for managing risks; post-pursuit reporting; training; and community engagement. We recommend that agencies only pursue suspects when two conditions are met: (1) a violent crime has been committed and (2) the suspect poses an imminent threat to commit another violent crime. 

The rest of the story:  https://www.policeforum.org/trending23sep23

The Complete Report:  https://portal.cops.usdoj.gov/resourcecenter/content.ashx/cops-r1134-pub.pdf

 

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Milwaukee Police Department’s in the News – and not in a good way.

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And the beat goes on…

Police chases in Milwaukee surge in recent years

I truly appreciate Jonah’s comments in this email:

On Aug 2, 2023, at 6:20 AM, Jonah wrote:
Hi Jonathan,
As promised, here’s a link to the story: 
Thank you again for agreeing to chat with me for the story, your expertise and perspective was extremely valuable.
And a HUGE thank you for alerting me to the flaws in police pursuit reporting data. After our conversation, I began taking a closer look at the injury reports I’d received through my record requests and noticed several missing deadly pursuits. I reached out to the MPD for comment on those, and it turns out they initially gave me a bad batch of data which under-reported third party deaths and injuries and over-reported police injuries. They issued updated and corrected numbers just a few hours before we were set to publish. I probably wouldn’t have caught those flaws if it weren’t for your comments on faulty data.
-Jonah
@chester_jonah @jennifergollan @andreeball @katie_reports #PursuitForChange @PursuitResponse @StarChaseLLC #PursuitReductionTech @FAACsimulators @PursuitAlert @SpartanTekOrg @OnStar

Hot pursuit: Milwaukee police chases now top 1,000 per year. Some prove deadly.

Milwaukee sees a surge in police pursuits in years since loosening policy to target reckless drivers. Critics say the trend makes streets more dangerous.
Reading Time: 10 minutesNews414 is a service journalism collaboration between Wisconsin Watch and Milwaukee Neighborhood News Service that addresses the specific issues, interests, perspectives and information needs identified by residents of central city Milwaukee neighborhoods. Learn more at our website or sign up for our texting service her

  • Correction: A previous version of this story included an incorrect figure for the number of fatal Milwaukee police pursuits in 2023 and incorrect percentages of pursuits ending in injuries from 2007 to 2022.

At 1:06 a.m. on Aug. 1, 2019, Le’Quon McCoy was driving through a North Side Milwaukee intersection when the driver of a stolen Buick Encore ran a flashing red light and crashed into McCoy’s Jeep Renegade.

The speeding driver, who was fleeing police, hit McCoy’s Jeep so hard that it bounced off a tree on one side of the road and into a parked car on the other side. McCoy, 19, died at the scene.

“He got off work around like 9 or 10 at night. He stopped here to see me,” his mother, Antoinette Broomfield recalled.   READ THE REST OF THE STORY HERE

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Sixteen Years. May 27, 2023

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16 Years

by Jon Farris

16 YEARS.  192 MONTHS.  5,843 DAYS.  140,253 HOURS.  8,415,187 MINUTES.  504,911,220 SECONDS

It simply doesn’t matter how you measure it.

May 27, 2023 is the 16th anniversary of Paul Farrisand Walid Chahine’s deaths, and my heart has never been the same.

They were killed by a man fleeing police (#PoliceChase) – running through the dark and densely packed streets of Somerville, MA. The fleeing man was driving at 75 miles per hour, pursued by a State Trooper, when he broadsided the taxi driven by Walid and in which Paul and Katelyn were passengers. Paul was thrown from the taxi and died immediately. Walid was grievously injured and passed a week later. Kate survived, hospitalized for months, with doctors saying it was a miracle she lived.

Fast forward to April, 2023. The man who stole Paul and Walid’s lives walked away from prison, free but on parole for the next 15 years.  I hope, with all of my heart, that he doesn’t drive again and doesn’t endanger your sons, daughters, moms, dads, best friends or others…

 

We miss you, Paul.

Dad


Random thoughts…

Music was a huge part of Paul’s life, as it is for me.  I dream that Paul is still playing and singing his music – in a better place.

                                     Paul Farris singing – circa 2005

I think if Paul was still here that he’d be horrified by the death and destruction in Ukraine. Here’s a song by his college band, theMark.

theMark “Faith in Flight”. LISTEN HERE

I’m so tired
Of guns on my mind
Lives fall away
When shells and tempers fly.

And if I should die
When stars and stripes collide
And every soldier loses faith in flight.

Stay home next time
And keep your shoes tied.


Many different songs remind me of Paul. And many bring tears even after so long. Two are linked here.

Riverside “Towards the Blue Horizon”

Where are you now my friend?
I miss those days
I hope they take good care of you there
And you can still play the guitar
And sing your songs
I just miss those days
And miss you so
Wish I could be strong
When darkness comes

Soen “River”

All these words that I left unspoken
I will say when I meet you again.
I see you but I can’t feel your presence
I feel you but you’re fading away.

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16 Missed Birthdays

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16 Missed Birthdays

By Jon Farris – Paul Farris’ dad and Chief Advocate, Pursuit For Change

 

Every year on November 2nd I post a note in remembrance of my son, Paul, about the birthday celebrations we’ve missed since his senseless death. This will be the 16th one.

It’s easy for me to remember Paul and the many happy birthdays we spent with family and friends. Some days it seems as though these were only yesterday, but no…

We miss you buddy. So very much.

 

Whenever I need a dose of inner peace, I listen to Paul’s music. You can hear all of Paul’s music at PaulFarris.org/Music.
And here’s Faith in Flight, from theMark‘s album The Catastrophist, with Alec O. playing guitar: https://paulfarris.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/04-Faith-in-Flight.mp3

Paul & Alec. theMark. Tuft’s Spring Fling 2004

 

Paul Farris birthday 1993

Paul 2004

Paul 2003

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Man Arrested for Police Pursuit after $20 Walmart Theft

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There is simply NO REASON for law enforcement to be elevating a Walmart theft into a DANGEROUS POLICE PURSUIT the endangers so many innocent citizens.  

Multiple law enforcement agencies were involved with this situation. Thankfully and luckily, no bystanders were injured or killed. Law enforcement agencies must create smarter and stricter pursuit policies so this just does not happen.

 


41-Year-Old Arrested for High-Speed Chase after 20 Dollar Walmart Theft

 

A high-speed chase occurred after a theft at Walmart around 2 pm on Monday.

According to early reports a call from Walmart to a person who had stolen several items including a hat, deodorant, and other small items with the possibility of leaving the store. Associates attempted to stop the suspect but he pushed through running out of the store.

He got into a White Sonata that was waiting for him and left the parking lot that’s when the sheriff’s department attempted to stop the vehicle in front of Taco Bell on US-23 but instead of stopping he put his foot on the gas.

Read the rest of the article HERE.

 

 

 

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Dangerous rush-hour police crash raises concerns (Fox31 Colorado)

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Dangerous rush-hour police crash raises concerns

 

by: 
Posted: Updated: 

DENVER (KDVR) — Questions have arisen about the Denver Police Department’s pursuit policy after officers chased and stopped a car on Interstate 225, causing a high-speed crash in rush hour traffic.

The suspect had been involved in a Denver shooting hours earlier at the Bass Pro Shops on Northfield Boulevard.

Dominique Hall and her family were stuck in traffic when the crash happened next to them near I-225 and Colfax Avenue.

“All of a sudden out of nowhere, we hear tires screeching and a loud bang. Then, we see the car go past us all. Shrapnel from both cars the police SUV and the suspect’s car was just everywhere,” said Hall, of Aurora.

See the video and read the rest of the story HERE.

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Pursuit policy questioned after deaths in I-25 crash

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“Jonathan Farris, an advocate for the nonprofit Pursuit for Change, an organization that pushes for safer police pursuit policies, called the Santa Fe Police Department’s chase policy vague and said it doesn’t give much direction for when an officer should give up on a pursuit.”

Pursuit policy questioned after deaths in I-25 crash

By Sean P. Thomas sthomas@sfnewmexican.com Mar 19, 2022 Updated Mar 20, 2022

Jeannine Jaramillo’s alleged crimes in Santa Fe and Cibola counties within months of each other are strikingly similar: stolen cars, reckless chases and claims of a kidnapper or male aggressor who doesn’t appear to exist.

The outcomes widely differ.

When Jaramillo was suspected of leading Cibola County deputies into oncoming traffic at high speeds in September 2021, they called off the pursuit. They later found the stolen vehicle at a residence and took Jaramillo into custody, according to records of the case.

READ THE COMPLETE ARTICLE HERE

 


FBI tactical squad members approach a command center March 2 on Interstate 25 near Old Pecos Trail after a Santa Fe police officer and another motorist, a retired firefighter, were killed in a multiple-car crash during a police pursuit.   Jim Weber/New Mexican file photo

UPDATE:

We have asked Mr. Thomas to post one correction. This statement “Farris, whose son Paul Farris was killed in 2007 when a cab he was riding in was struck by a Massachusetts state trooper chasing a driver suspected of a traffic violation…” is incorrect.  In actuality, the cab Paul was riding in was struck by the fleeing driver’s SUV, and not by the Trooper.  An important clarification.

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Cost of the chase: An examination of police pursuits

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An excellent article focusing on pursuits, law enforcement’s actions, and the death of yet another innocent victim.

Cost of the chase: An examination of police pursuits

by: Jeff Keeling, Ashley Sharp

Posted: Feb 23, 2022 / 04:32 PM EST
Updated: Feb 23, 2022 / 04:37 PM EST

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (WJHL) – Just after midnight Dec. 4, a 22-mile police pursuit from Tusculum to Johnson City, Tenn. ended in the death of A Pearson, a completely uninvolved motorist.

A car driven by Christian Morrow and pursued by a Tusculum Police Department (TPD) officer and the TPD chief after Morrow passed the officer at 104 miles per hour lost control and crashed into Pearson’s car. Pearson died at the scene, while Morrow is in jail on other charges as an investigation into the accident that caused Pearson’s death continues.

READ MORE HERE

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Trooper was traveling 100+ mph before slamming into car

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November 08, 2021 at 11:07 pm EST
By Ted Daniel, Boston 25 News
@tvnewzted @Boston25

Note from PFC: At 101 miles per hour the Trooper’s SUV was traveling more than 148 feet per second and can cover a half mile in just 20 seconds.  Innocent victim Sarah Stevens should never have been put in this situation.

25 Investigates: Trooper was traveling 100+ mph before slamming into car, critically injuring nurse

The trooper was racing to join a pursuit several towns away, MSP documents show

LEOMINSTER, Mass. — She was on her commute back home to Fitchburg that January night last year when Sarah Stevens says her life was changed.

The 30-year-old emergency room nurse stopped at the Wendy’s on N. Main Street in Leominster following a 12-hour shift at Lowell General and was exiting the parking lot when, she says, the sudden and violent impact happened. An unmarked state police cruiser slammed into the driver’s side of her Ford Focus.

Sarah Stevens (photos from Boston25 News)

The January 29, 2020 crash totaled her car and shattered her body.

“I know that I was in the coma for about a week. I fractured my shoulder, had eight broken ribs, a lacerated liver, a bleeding kidney,” recalled Stevens. “I had brain bleeds, a dissected carotid artery. They also had to go in and put a coil in my kidney to stop the bleeding.”

See the video and read the rest of the story HERE.

 

 

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November 2, 2021

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November 2, 2021
Fifteen Birthdays

Last year I posted a note about Paul’s birthday. It’s so hard to believe that another year has passed us by.  I thought, given the world’s issues, I’d post an updated version of that note.
Peace.  – Jonathan Farris, Dad, Gatekeeper of PaulFarris.org and Chief Advocate of Pursuit For Change

Some of our readers will envision this particular Tuesday as a year after the United States’ most contentious Presidential election. And that contention continues today through lies and hate. Paul would be appalled.

Some of our readers remain anxious about the pandemic and the devastation caused to individuals, families, countries and the world. As of my writing this, 769,299 people have died in the US and over 5,000,000 have died worldwide. Horrible beyond mere words.

But on November 2, 2021 I take a moment to forget the noise, to forget the pandemic, and instead focus on wonderful memories.

Paul Farris was stolen from us in 2007. And 2021 will be the 15th missed birthday. This is unimaginable to me.

We would have mailed or emailed Paul a cute birthday card, texted him a funny greeting and then spoken to him after work. The way it’s supposed to be.

He would be heartbroken that such a horrendous chapter of history continues in 2021. However, I suspect that in addition to being despondent, he’d be engaged doing whatever he could to make a better future for all of us.

Or perhaps he’d just be sitting around drinking beer. We’ll never know…

 

Just like every birthday, and indeed every single day, we miss you immensely.

Paul & theMark early 2000’s

Paul a very long time ago…

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Atlanta City Council To Consider Pursuit Policy Changes

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So so many heartbreaking stories.

City Council committee to consider police pursuit changes

HAYLEY MASON
UPDATED 14 HRS AGO | POSTED ON JUN 28, 2021

ATLANTA (CBS46) — Joi and Doug Partridge will never forget the day they lost their two children Cameron and Layla, and Joi’s mother, Dorothy Wright. Wright was driving her grandchildren to church when she was hit by the driver of a stolen car fleeing from police in 2016 in Southwest Atlanta.

“It really hurts because I lost my parent and my two kids,” Joi Partridge told CBS46’s Hayley Mason.

Read the rest of the story here: https://www.cbs46.com/news/city-council-committee-to-consider-police-pursuit-changes/article_83d4b2cc-d880-11eb-b4ea-fbde3d93bfdc.html

@CBS46

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2021 UPDATE: Milwaukee’s 2017 Incredibly Stupid Decision to Dramatically Increase Dangerous Pursuits Continues to Kill and Maim Innocent Citizens

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2021 UPDATE: Milwaukee’s 2017 Incredibly Stupid Decision to Dramatically Increase Dangerous Pursuits Continues to Kill and Maim Innocent Citizens

by Jon Farris

Chief Advocate, Pursuit For Change

Let me say this AGAIN.

Milwaukee’s 2017 Incredibly Stupid Decision to Dramatically Increase Dangerous Pursuits Continues to Kill and Maim Innocent Citizens.

Please see Elliot Hughes (@ElliotHughes12) Journal-Sentinel (@JournalSentinel) article at https://www.jsonline.com/story/news/2021/06/16/milwaukee-reckless-driving-boy-16-dies-after-stolen-car-crash/5295939001/

Police said officers attempted to stop a stolen vehicle on the 9900 block of West Good Hope Road shortly before 9 p.m. Tuesday, but it instead led them on a chase and eventually crossed over into oncoming traffic.
Police said the pursuit was then terminated, but the car continued to drive against traffic and hit another vehicle head-on at 50 to 60 miles an hour

In 2017, against the wishes of then Chief of Police Ed Flynn, the Milwaukee Fire and Police Commission MANDATED a WEAKENING of Milwaukee’s good pursuit policy – a policy which SAVED LIVES.  And as a result of that change, Milwaukee’s 2018 pursuits were up 239 percent, (https://pursuitforchange.org/advocacy/an-open-letter-to-milwaukee-police-chief-alfonso-morales-and-the-milwaukee-fire-and-police-commission/) with each of those chases endangering officers and citizens. How could anyone consider that to be a good thing?

Then, sadly as I had warned and predicted in 2017 (https://pursuitforchange.org/advocacy/statement-for-the-milwaukee-fire-police-commission/), one of MPD’s officers was killed in 2018. Officer Charles Irvine died in a pursuit related crash . Officer Irvine was the same age as my son, killed in an unnecessary police pursuit.

Officer Irvine’s death was completely preventable.

But instead, Milwaukee chose to double down and chase even more stolen vehicles, KNOWINGLY ENDANGERING many many citizens each and every time.

So FOUR YEARS after making a truly CRITICAL MISTAKE, Milwaukee continues to endanger, maim and kill citizens while NOT solving anything. Is this incompetence or simply a blatant disregard for the area’s population?

PS:  Oh, I almost forgot. Milwaukee is working on yet more billboards. Just brilliant…

From the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel article above:

“A cadre of city officials announced a new billboard campaign discouraging reckless driving. And they all touched on the troubling problem of people as young as 12 years old stealing cars and using them for joyriding and driving dangerously.”

And from the original campaign: (https://pursuitforchange.org/voices-of-victims/a-father-who-lost-his-innocent-bystander-son-in-a-police-chase-criticizes-milwaukee-billboard-campaign/). It was ineffective then and remains ineffective now.

 

PPS: If you search the News page for Milwaukee posts, you’ll find many, especially in 2017-2019…

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Oklahoma City family questions police pursuit that killed innocent pregnant mom Star Shells

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Oklahoma City family questions police pursuit that killed pregnant mom Star Shells

by Josh Dulaney, The Oklahoman

She kept the burial flag of her grandfather, a U.S. Army veteran, in her car window, and it was that flag, in pieces and scattered on the northeast Oklahoma City street, that signified Star Shells was dead.

Shells’ mother, Connie Basco, got the call Monday morning, shortly after Shells, 28, dropped her two young sons off at John W. Rex Charter School and was on her way home.

There had been a police chase, ending in a violent car wreck at Martin Luther King Avenue and NE 16. It scattered car parts along an entire city block. Basco arrived on the scene, desperate for answers.

 

Read the rest of the story HERE

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Chicago: Police vehicle chases end in crashes two-thirds of the time, according to hacked emails

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Chicago: Police vehicle chases end in crashes two-thirds of the time

By Sharon Hoyer
May 17, 2021

In March, @StreetsblogChi took a look at police vehicle chases and the Chicago Police Department’s policy that asks officers to apply an in-the-moment, mental “balancing test” to weigh the necessity of immediately apprehending a suspect against the inherent danger of motor vehicle pursuit. A trove of recently hacked City Hall emails further illustrated the extreme danger and high cost of police vehicle chases.

On May 12, the Chicago Sun-Times’ David Struett reported that, according to a confidential report made public by the hack, two-thirds police chases in 2019 – 180 of 270 total – ended in crashes, and in eight cases people died.

 

Read the rest of the story HERE

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Drivers Are Dying In Chicago Because Cops Treat Car Chases Like Demolition Derbies

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A story in @Jalopnik

by José Rodríguez Jr. @jrodriguezjr
5/14/21 2:25PM

The Chicago Sun-Times recently wrote about how bad car crashes have gotten in Chicago, Illinois. Except it’s not regular motorists who are causing all the mayhem; it’s the police. Specifically, it’s police chases that are causing all the accidents.

Chicago recorded 270 chases in 2019, and 180 of these ended in either loss of property, loss of human life or both, per the Chicago Sun-Times. Eight drivers died in these car crashes from 2019. In other words, two out of three police chases in the city that year ended in a car crash and one in 23 of those were fatal.

THE REST OF THE STORY IS HERE

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As Though We Don’t Have Enough To Deal With

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by Jonathan Farris
Dad and Chief Advocate, Pursuit For Change

 

February 23, 2021

As Though We Don’t Have Enough To Deal With

Paul & Scott

For any parent who has lost a child, regardless of that child’s age, there’s a gnawing ache that never completely goes away.

When the death first occurs and for several years afterwards, the wound is incredibly raw. Then, as years progress, many parents (definitely not all) learn to manage the pain and sorrow and move toward a more “normal” life.

This is what I call the “new normal” – because there will never again be the old normal…

The journey along this new normal has many speed bumps. Even after 14 years, for me music is a trigger for tears and moments sorrow. This is a regular occurrence and I’ve learned to simply go with it. The triggered event may last a minute or may last longer, but thankfully the new normal generally follows.

Because Paul was a victim of a crime (fleeing and officer in a police pursuit), our new normal includes issues surrounding the individual who killed Paul.

More than three years after Paul was killed (May 2007) we spoke at the trial. He was sentenced to 15-20 years plus 15 years additional probation for his crimes.

In early 2020, seemingly out of the blue, we received notification he was eligible for parole. Yep, an unexpected trigger event!

With help from many, we provided the parole board with convincing information that he should not be released early and they denied his release. But parole hearings often become an annual affair, as was the case with Paul’s killer.

On Monday I attended a Zoom Parole Board hearing for him. There were several parole board members, a victim’s advocate (the individual who helps guide us through the legal system maze), me, and “him.”

I won’t go into any more details, but after the hearing the parole board voted against early release.

So another trigger event can be tabled until next year, when we’ll likely go through the process again.

For all of you who knew Paul and who supported us through this ongoing journey, THANK YOU. This is a journey that’s virtually impossible without support from friends and family.

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November 2, 2020

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November 2, 2020
Fourteen Birthdays

By Jonathan Farris, Dad and Chief Advocate, Pursuit For Change

Many of our readers will envision this particular Monday as the day before one of the United States’ most contentious Presidential elections.

Some of our readers are worried about the COVID19 pandemic and devastation caused to individuals, families, countries and the world. As of my writing this, 234,000 people have died in the US and 1,200,000 have died worldwide. Horrible beyond mere words.

But on November 2, 2020 I will take a moment to forget this election, to forget the pandemic, and to instead focus on good memories.

Paul Farris was taken from us in May of 2007. And 2020 will be his 14th missed birthday. Unimaginable.

I suspect given the current state of things, we would have emailed Paul a silly card, texted a funny greeting and then spoken to him when he finished work.

He would be heartbroken that such a horrendous chapter of history is being written in 2020. However, I suspect that in addition to being despondent, he’d be engaged doing whatever he could to make a better future for our world.

Or perhaps he’d just be sitting around drinking beer. We’ll never know…

 

Just like every birthday, and indeed every day, we miss you immensely.

Paul singing with theMark circa 2002

Paul

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Police Pursuit Symposium and WCPO Story

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Hamilton County Police Association (Cincinnati Metro Area) Police Pursuit Symposium / WCPO interview

Jon Farris, Chief Advocate for Pursuit for Change, was a featured presenter at the August 19, 2020 Cincinnati Metro Area Police Pursuit Symposium.

Jon spoke about being a grieving father, a police pursuit victim, an advocate for reducing pursuits, a cheerleader for Pursuit Reduction Technology and a strong supporter of law enforcement. This was an excellent, three-hour symposium with tremendous involvement by over 60 command-level officers from throughout the county. Thanks to Lt. Steve Saunders from the CPD for allowing me to participate.

 

Additionally, Jon was interviewed by Craig Cheatham, Executive Producer/Chief Investigative Reporter of the WCPO 9 I-Team in Cincinnati. Thanks to Craig for this terrific update.

https://www.wcpo.com/news/local-news/i-team/one-police-pursuit-policy-for-44-hamilton-county-departments-victims-dad-hopes-to-convince-agencies

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May 27, 2020. Thirteen Years

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May 27, 2020. Thirteen Years

posted May 27, 2020

Thirteen years since Paul was stolen from us. 

 

Paul in his early years

Another unnecessary #PoliceChase occurred on May 27, 2007.

Paul Farris became another INNOCENT VICTIM.

We became yet another family GRIEVING – forever. 

When everything except your memories have been stolen, work hard to never forget.

We miss you, Paul.

 

PS: The posting cover photo is Paul and his mom at his 2006 Tuft’s University graduation. An awesome day.

PaulFarris.org

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Border Patrol Agent Speaks Out About A High-Speed Chase That Ended In An Immigrant’s Death

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Sadly, in our current all-too-divisive country and world, many people will read this article and say, “So what, it was just some illegal aliens.”

So to them we say, those were REAL PEOPLE.  They had/have families and friends who love them.

How would you feel if a drunk was driving your family or friends and made the stupid decision to flee? This happens regularly. Would it be OK if police chased and as a result YOUR FAMILY was killed or grievously injured?  No, it would not be OK.

YOU    WOULD    BE    OUTRAGED.

The Border Patrol chases regularly, and with impunity. This is wrong. Many, if not most of those pursuits, could be eliminated with a stricter and smarter pursuit policy, significantly more driver training for Border Patrol Officers and much greater usage of Pursuit Reduction Technology.


Border Patrol Agent Speaks Out About A High-Speed Chase That Ended In An Immigrant’s Death

by Debbie Nathan
February 28 2020, 7:00 a.m.

A FEW MINUTES BEFORE midnight on January 29, an Ecuadorian man was killed in a car crash near downtown El Paso, Texas, only yards from the U.S.-Mexico border. An Ecuadorian woman was gravely hurt and weeks later is just emerging from a coma. She’s missing part of her skull and half of her body appears to be paralyzed. Stuck in a hospital thousands of miles from her kin, she has had few visitors, but one has been a Border Patrol agent who feels grief-stricken by the accident and believes the Border Patrol played a major role in causing it. The agent recently had an emotional meeting with a family member of the severely injured woman and offered to testify if the family brings a lawsuit.

Police reports say the crash was caused by a drunk driver who picked up the Ecuadorians after they crossed into the U.S. illegally. The driver is said to have been a smuggler who was speeding to evade the Border Patrol, and crashed because he was driving too fast. But the agent says that the chase was improper. It occurred near downtown El Paso on West Paisano Drive, on a section of road so prone to crashes that local law enforcement officers call it a “deadly curve.”

READ THE REST OF THE STORY HERE

@DebbieNathan2 @JessicaHRodz @betsyreed2 @PursuitResponse @theintercept

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Wisconsin bill increases penalties for vehicle theft, reckless driving, and fleeing an officer

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Wisconsin Vehicle Theft Legislation 2020

Wisconsin State Senator Chris Kapenga stated on February 19, 2020 in news release, “Car thefts (are) increasing in 8 of the 10 most populous (Wisconsin) counties.”  Here is the proposed WI Legislation that increases the penalties for vehicle theft, reckless driving, and fleeing an officer: https://docs.legis.wisconsin.gov/2019/proposals/sb769

The PFC take on this legislation?

We believe that legislation INCREASING PENALTIES for individuals (criminals) who fail to stop for a law enforcement officer (LEO) is good policy. The same can be said for vehicle theft and reckless driving penalties.

However, where this legislation falls woefully short is relating to the EVER INCREASING NUMBER OF DANGEROUS #POLICECHASES that are occurring in Wisconsin, often as a result of these types of crimes.

If our elected officials REALLY WANT TO PROTECT CITIZENS AND LEO’S from unnecessary injuries and death, then implement STRONGER PURSUIT POLICIES, limiting police chases to only the most violent felony actions, and NOT FOR STOLEN CARS OR PROPERTY THEFT.

 


A PolitiFact story confirming Senator Kapenga’s statement and providing the data and statistics. https://www.politifact.com/factchecks/2020/mar/12/chris-kapanga/yes-auto-theft-most-large-wisconsin-counties-thoug/

By D.L. Davis
March 12, 2020

Yes, auto theft is up in most large Wisconsin counties, though down statewide

The issue of reckless driving has gained urgency as lawmakers, police and residents grapple with how to get a handle on increasing danger on neighborhood streets.

One approach: Crack down on auto theft.

In Milwaukee and elsewhere, the police pursuit of stolen vehicles has led to accidents, including a Feb. 1, 2020 incident in Wauwatosa, when a stolen car being pursued by Milwaukee police crashed into a tree.

State Sen. Chris Kapenga, R-Delafield, introduced a bill to address auto theft that, among other things, increases penalties for reckless driving, fleeing an officer and vehicle theft. The measure won Senate approval Feb. 19, 2020 on a 19-14 vote and was sent to the Assembly.

In a news release that day, Kapenga argued: “Reckless driving and car thefts have been a major issue not only in Milwaukee County but also across the state with car thefts increasing in 8 of the 10 most populous counties.”

Is Kapenga right?

The evidence
When asked for backup, Kapenga’s chief of staff Kyle Koenen pointed to the Wisconsin Department of Justice’s Uniform Crime Reporting Database.  READ THE REST OF THE STORY HERE

@SenatorKapenga @GannettDavis @PursuitResponse @StarChaseLLC @FaacIncorporated #ThereAreOtherOptions

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