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Aged pursuit data, but still very pertinent

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Aged pursuit data, but still very pertinent

https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/state-and-local-law-enforcement-agencies-conducted-an-estimated-68000-vehicle-pursuits-in-2012-300454182.html

State And Local Law Enforcement Agencies Conducted An Estimated 68,000 Vehicle Pursuits In 2012 

NEWS PROVIDED BY
Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs 
May 09, 2017, 10:00 ET
     
WASHINGTON, May 9, 2017 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — General purpose state and local law enforcement agencies conducted an estimated 68,000 vehicle pursuits in 2012 for an average of 186 pursuits per day, the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) announced today. Local police departments conducted most of these pursuits (about 40,000) followed by sheriffs’ offices (about 18,000) and state police and highway patrol agencies (about 10,000). 

These findings are based on data from the most recent (2013) BJS Law Enforcement Management and Administrative Statistics survey, which included a nationally representative sample of general purpose state and local law enforcement agencies. It excluded federal agencies and special jurisdiction agencies (such as campus and park police). 

In 2012, all local police departments serving 250,000 or more residents and nearly all (95 percent) of those serving 50,000 to 249,999 residents conducted vehicle pursuits. In comparison, fewer than half of local police departments serving fewer than 10,000 residents conducted vehicle pursuits. 

Among sheriffs’ offices, about 9 in 10 agencies serving 100,000 or more residents, eight in 10 agencies serving 25,000 to 99,999 residents and seven in 10 agencies serving 10,000 to 24,999 residents conducted vehicle pursuits in 2012. In comparison, 43 percent of sheriffs’ offices serving fewer than 10,000 residents conducted vehicle pursuits.

During the 20-year aggregate period from 1996 to 2015, police vehicle pursuits resulted in more than 6,000 fatal crashes, according to the Fatality Analysis Reporting System, which is maintained by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration within the U.S. Department of Transportation. These fatal crashes resulted in more than 7,000 deaths, an average of 355 per year (about one per day). Fatalities peaked in 2006 and 2007, with more than 400 deaths each year.

As of January 2013, all state police and highway patrol agencies and all local police departments serving 25,000 or more residents had a written vehicle pursuit policy. At least 95 percent of sheriffs’ offices in each population category of 10,000 or more had a written vehicle pursuit policy.

An estimated 2 percent of local police departments and 1 percent of sheriffs’ offices prohibited vehicle pursuits. No state police or highway patrol agencies prohibited pursuits. Most local police departments (71 percent), sheriffs’ offices (63 percent) and state law enforcement agencies (53 percent) had a policy that restricted pursuits based on specific criteria, such as speed, type of offense and surrounding conditions. 

About 30 percent of state police and highway patrol agencies permitted officers to use their own discretion when deciding to initiate a vehicle pursuit. Smaller percentages of sheriffs’ offices (17 percent) and local police departments (13 percent) had discretionary pursuit policies. 

Agencies with a policy that left pursuit decisions to an officer’s discretion had the highest vehicle pursuit rate (17 pursuits per 100 officers employed), while agencies that discouraged or prohibited pursuits had the lowest pursuit rate (2 per 100 officers). Agencies with a restrictive policy conducted 8 pursuits per 100 officers employed. Agencies with discretionary pursuit policies employed 11 percent of all officers and conducted 19 percent of all vehicle pursuits. In comparison, agencies with restrictive pursuit policies employed 78 percent of all officers and accounted for 69 percent of all pursuits. 

The report, Police Vehicle Pursuits, 2012-2013 (NCJ 250545), was written by BJS statistician Brian A. Reaves (former). The report, related documents and additional information about BJS’s statistical publications and programs can be found on the BJS website at www.bjs.gov.

The Office of Justice Programs, headed by Acting Assistant Attorney General Alan R. Hanson, provides federal leadership in developing the nation’s capacity to prevent and control crime, administer justice and assist victims. OJP has six bureaus and offices: the Bureau of Justice Assistance; the Bureau of Justice Statistics; the National Institute of Justice; the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention; the Office for Victims of Crime; and the Office of Sex Offender Sentencing, Monitoring, Apprehending, Registering and Tracking (SMART). More information about OJP and its components can be found at www.ojp.gov.

CONTACT: KARA MCCARTHY 
(202)598-9320
EMAIL: Kara.McCarthy@ojp.usdoj.gov 
www.bjs.gov              

SOURCE Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs
Related Links
http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov

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An Open Letter to Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett

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An Open Letter to Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett

Sent January 4, 2019.

 

Honorable Tom Barrett
Mayor, City of Milwaukee
City Hall
200 E. Wells Street
Room 201
Milwaukee, WI 53202

Dear Mayor Barrett,

On New Year’s Eve yet another Milwaukee police chase ended with the deaths of three – one being a two-year old child. I am beside myself with grief – for that child and for the City of Milwaukee.

How, other than in a totally political environment, could Milwaukee have fallen so very far in such a short time?

On Thursday, December 6, the Milwaukee Police Department announced that carjackings were down. Fox6Now reported that “Police credit change in pursuit policy for dramatic decrease in carjackings.” This is a story about Milwaukee’s quest to reduce joyriding and stolen vehicles. It is an honorable mission, but officials are using a seriously flawed and incredibly deadly battle plan.

Is it not true that carjackings were already declining under the former, safer pursuit policy, because that policy specifically did permit pursuits of carjackers?

Almost all of Milwaukee’s 2018 pursuit-related deaths and many injuries were as a direct result of MPD’s new, weakened policy that permits dangerous high-speed chases for traffic offenses. Yet it would appear that this new policy’s only actual results are many more dangerous chases, more innocent bystander deaths and injuries, and even an officer’s death – virtually all for non-violent felony pursuits.

Fox story referenced a critical statistic. “In 2017, there were 386 pursuits. As of Dec. 6, 2018, there had been more than 800.These stats indicate MPD will conduct over 900 pursuits in 2018.  Officers and innocent citizens were placed in danger 500 times more in 2018 than in 2017. How can this be acceptable to anyone?

Milwaukee residents and visitors to the city have a very real reason to be frightened. Think about it: These stats represent an average of 18 life-endangering pursuits per week, and that does not include the many pursuits started in surrounding jurisdictions which later cross into Milwaukee.

So, I ask you sir, “What is the price, in human life and suffering, that Milwaukee is willing to pay to apprehend speeders, other non-violent felony driving violators and stolen vehicles?”

I also ask you another critical question. What happens to those who are apprehended under this revised and dangerous policy? I contend that the answer is no different than under the previous MPD administration’s more restrictive and safer pursuit policies – not enough.

There are many other questions you should be asking and answering.

  1. Based on 18 pursuits per day, do you REALLY BELIEVE this new policy is working?
  2. Does the DA ever charge for “felony eluding?” I haven’t heard anything about that.
  3. What happens to apprehended car thieves?
  4. Are all of these “dangerous criminals” being convicted?
  5. Are these criminals ultimately serving any jail time, or simply being released back onto the streets 48 hours after their apprehension?
  6. How many stolen-vehicle pursuits end in the stolen vehicle being totaled or damaged anyway?
  7. With an obscenely high 900 pursuits in 2018, have you consider comparing Milwaukee with other major cities? I am willing to bet that such a study will show Milwaukee is wildly out of statistical norms.
  8. If this greatly weakened pursuit policy is actually working, shouldn’t pursuits be declining, not rising like a SpaceX rocket?
  9. And, if this policy was actually working, shouldn’t pursuit-related deaths and injuries be declining? That is obviously NOT the case.
  10. In the New Year’s Eve pursuit, both the old and new policies would have authorized the initiation of a pursuit. But there are still questions even in this case.
    1. Was policy followed once the pursuit exceeded 80mph on city streets?
    2. At what point should the safety of citizens have been deemed more important (by the pursuing officers and their command) than the desire for immediate apprehension of this suspect?
    3. Did any of the pursuing officers have MPD’s already-deployed GPS technology? That would have allowed a tag and follow-safely scenario.
    4. Finally, consider this:
      If that little girl had been a hostage held in a building, she likely would have been freed during MPD’s hostage negotiations. But there is no negotiating at 90 mph, just sudden and unnecessary death.

If officers had shot and killed as many people as have died in Milwaukee’s 2018 pursuits, you and city alderpersons would be demanding investigations, changes, and corrective actions. Yet, because these deaths were caused by 3,000-pound bullets and not those fired from guns, there is a deafening silence from city officials.

There is no dishonor for public officials to reassess policies that are not working. In fact, that is an obligation. Yet I contend, for contentious political reasons, Milwaukee officials are conveniently ignoring the facts and are forgetting those killed and injured in these 2018 chases.

These people, their stories, their families and their friends simply end up as collateral damage, forgotten before the wreckage is swept from the street.

But I do not forget. Ever. It’s personal for me; and has been since my son was killed in an equally unnecessary police chase.

Innocents are already killed too often in violent felony situations. Unnecessary bystander deaths as a result of non-violent felony chases makes it even more critical that Milwaukee return to a safer, violent felony-only pursuit policy.

If you missed the daily carnage reports, here are several truly horrible 2018 consequences caused by Milwaukee’s weakened pursuit policies.

  • Milwaukee police officer Charles Irvine killed. LINK
  • A 65-year-old woman killed. LINK
  • MCTS driver in critical condition. LINK
  • 3 dead, including 2-year-old. LINK
  • One dead, two seriously injured. LINK

Other major cities invest in training and technology to reduce pursuits and still catch criminals. Milwaukee already has an excellent start using technology that will reduce the need for unnecessary pursuits. As I understand, the original MPD 2018 budget had additional funds allocated to equip even more police vehicles with GPS technology. Did they take advantage of this?

Unless saner minds prevail, there will most certainly be more Milwaukee police chase deaths, injuries and the lawsuits that will follow.

Mayor, you and I both know that Milwaukee CAN do better. Milwaukee MUST do better. Much better. But it takes a committed and courageous leader to drive such a change. I truly hope that you are such a leader.

Wishing Milwaukee a significantly safer 2019.

Kindest regards,

Jonathan Farris
Chief Advocate
Pursuit For Change

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Police chases not worth risk of tragedy

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Here’s an article published the day of Paul Farris’ death. So tell me, exactly what’s changed in 2016?

Police chases not worth risk of tragedy
May 31, 2007

by Margery Eagan
Boston Globe Columnist

“Here’s yet another question: would you prefer someone driving through Boston erratically at 40 mph, or chased by police, at 70 or 80 mph?”

Explain this, please: Because about 100 children a year are abducted and killed by strangers, we have totally revamped American childhood. Good parents won’t even let children in the back yard alone.
Yet at least that many innocent Americans, including children (some estimate two or three times as many) are killed every year in police chases. And every time I’ve written a column asking if these chases are worth it, the response is the same.
Surely I am insane.
Really?

Two innocent bystanders killed; one permanently injured
The latest police chase tragedy came early Sunday morning when Javier Morales, 29, refused to stop for a state trooper in Everett. Morales made an illegal left turn off Route 16. He had no license and feared jail time for a previous no-license arrest.

Perhaps if he faced greater jail time for refusing to stop for police a penalty many have proposed to reduce these chases Morales, weighing his options, would have made a different choice. To stop.
As it was, Trooper Joseph Kalil chased Morales stolen SUV from Everett to Somerville’s Davis Square, where Morales plowed into a cab driven by Walid Chahine, 45, a husband and father. In the backseat were musician Paul Farris, 23, and his girlfriend Katelyn Hoyt. Hoyt and Chahine [Walid Chahine died at the hospital.] are at Mass. General, critically injured. Farris is dead.
The fourth victim: Trooper Kalil, who must live with what happened for the rest of his days.
So why is it that state police here, and in many other states, chase traffic violators at all? Boston police don’t. Neither do police in many other big cities, in part because of the risk of multi million-dollar lawsuits. Boston’s pursuit standards are higher than those followed by state police: Boston is supposed to chase only violent or dangerous suspects or those driving erratically, possibly because of drugs or alcohol.
Here’s yet another question: would you prefer someone driving through Boston erratically at 40 mph, or chased by police, at 70 or 80 mph?
One more question: Why do we assume that chasing even dangerous criminals is always worth the risk of maiming or killing a pedestrian or family in a minivan?

Myth vs. Fact
The myth, by the way, is that police typically or even regularly chase the dangerous, that there’s a dead body in the trunk, says Geoffrey Alpert of the University of South Carolina, who has studied police pursuits since 1983.
The fact is, between 75 and 80 percent of chases occur after moving violations, says Alpert. They’re mostly young kids who’ve made stupid decisions. The more powerful tool for police? Turn off the lights and siren and it’s more likely the suspect will slow down.
I guess the idea of letting the bad guy get away seems un-American. Perhaps, too, the car chase is too rooted in American legend, from The French Connection to O.J. to whatever live police pursuit Fox and MSNBC can find and broadcast.
And perhaps politicians don’t want to buck police. And then there’s adrenaline: If you’ve heard a chase on a police radio, you know want I’m talking about.
Yesterday Pearl Allen, a retired music and Afro-American studies teacher at John D. O’Bryant School, said what many say who lose family to police pursuits. That if police hadn’t chased, her grandson would still be alive.
Quentin Osbourne, once a standout for the Boston Raiders Pop Warner team, was 15 when he was ejected from a Hyundai Elantra he and six friends had piled into.
The 16-year-old unlicensed driver ran a stop sign. Police chased. He drove into a brick wall.
They were just kids, his grandmother said. (The police) put on the flashing blue light. I think the driver got scared and sped away, and they just kept chasing until they crashed.

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IACP Annual Conference

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Pursuit For Change Chief Advocate, Jonathan Farris, will be attending the 2016 IACP Annual Conference and Exposition in San Diego.
Please contact him at Jon@PursuitForChange.org if you are attending and able to meet and visit. Jon will also attend this year’s Highway Safety Awards Breakfast on October 18th. We hope to see you there.

Learn more about the conference at http://www.theiacpconference.org

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NBC 5 Chicago Investigates – Part 2

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To Curb Deaths, Some Police Make the Choice Not to Chase

Ingrained in every law enforcement officer are a few basic tenets: serve and protect, and catch evildoers before they can do more harm. It’s what they are paid to do, often risking their lives to accomplish those two goals.

But some departments are taking the drastic step of telling their officers to actually let the bad guy get away. That’s because in many circumstances, chasing them is simply too dangerous.

“The threat to innocent life does not justify chasing the vast majority of cars that decide not to stop for police,” says Edward Flynn, Chief of Police in Milwaukee. Six years ago, after a series of high profile crashes relating to chases, Flynn decided enough was enough, and implemented a new policy. Starting in March of 2010, officers were ordered to commence pursuits only for violent offenses.

No traffic violations. No stolen cars.

“In a three month period in 2010, we had four innocent people killed in three accidents,” Flynn said. “In every one of these tragedies the officers had realized the recklessness of the person they were chasing didn’t justify continued pursuit. One was for a stolen license plate!”

But once that pursuit begins, he noted, there is no controlling the missile which is often launched through populated neighborhoods, or streets, in the form of a fleeing car. And even if police break off the pursuit, they can’t control what the fleeing driver does next.

“I mean, I’ve buried officers who were killed in pursuits, alright?” he noted. “If you’re going to risk your life, and run the risk of that person is going to kill an innocent person, then the standard….has got to be a standard that says we’re involved in a crime of violence here. Not simply a property crime or a traffic offense, or some other low level offense.”

The new policy appears to have made a difference in Milwaukee. From 103 pursuit related crashes in 2007, to just 39 last year.

In May, NBC5 Investigates reported the alarming number of fatalities from police pursuits in the Chicagoland area: 141 pursuit-related crashes in the last ten years, resulting in 108 fatalities, and another 216 injured.

But the cases are not always easily defined.

In 2014, 20 year old Freddie Morales was walking to his car, when he was struck and killed by a Wheeling squad car, running with no lights or siren, clocked at up to 109 miles per hour. The officer who hit Morales, argued he was attempting to catch up with a speeder, and had not turned on his lights to avoid triggering a scenario where that driver might flee.

Morales, a pedestrian, was determined to have a blood alcohol level of between .158 and .228. He was killed instantly, and recently, the Village of Wheeling paid out a settlement to his family, of $853,000.

Ironically, under new chief James Dunne, Wheeling’s policy is now remarkably similar to Milwaukee’s. Dunne maintains the officer in the Morales case, who he called an “exemplary” member of his department, was truly only trying to catch up with a speeder, and was not engaged in a real chase. But like Flynn, he said he is concerned about the inherent dangers of police pursuits.

“Our policy is we won’t pursue for property crimes, or traffic,” he said. “It has to be a forcible felony.”

The true metric of any such policy, or course, is a reduction in injuries or deaths. In Milwaukee, two innocent bystanders have been killed since Flynn implemented his stricter policy. Chicago allows chases more often, and here we’ve seen 12 bystanders killed during the same period.

“As an industry, we need to re-evaluate how often we engage in this behavior,” he said. “And if the apprehension, is worth death!”

Published at 11:01 PM CDT on Jul 5, 2016

Original article at http://www.nbcchicago.com/investigations/To-Curb-Deaths-Some-Police-Make-the-Choice-Not-to-Chase-385643481.html

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Advocates working to change police pursuit policies (WSMV)

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Advocates working to change police pursuit policies

Posted: Jun 30, 2016 9:29 PM CDT
Reported by Heather Hourigan

Original article at: http://www.wsmv.com/clip/12564582/advocates-working-to-change-police-pursuit-policies

NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) –Thousands of bystanders and passengers have been killed since the 1980s in high-speed police chases.

One of those happened last week in Murfreesboro when a mother of two was killed instantly when the suspect rammed into her car.

Now her family is wanting to know why her life was taken for a stolen car.

The International Association of Chiefs of Police conducted a survey on thousands of chases nationally. They found 92 percent of pursuits began for a traffic violation, misdemeanor or non-violent felonies.

“I got involved in this in 2007 when my son was killed. I was boggled. I just couldn’t believe the number of them,” said Jonathan Farris, the founder of Pursuit for Change.

It often takes tragedy to bring to light the dangers of high-speed police chases.

“This should have never happened. This right here should have never happened,” said Mildred Parker, Jessica Campos’ mother.

Campos was killed in Murfreesboro when a suspect hit her after a more than 30-mile chase over a stolen car.

“It’s that cross jurisdictional issue,  but someone gave me the number and it’s close to 19,000 law enforcement agencies, and they all have different policies,” Farris said.

Farris lost his son, Paul, in a city that has essentially a no pursuit policy, but the pursuit began in another county.

“My son and his girlfriend were in the backseat of a taxi. That taxi came to the intersection and the perpetrator was in an SUV and just t-boned them. Literally lifted the taxi up and threw it onto a sidewalk,” Farris said.

The chase started over an illegal U-turn.

“That’s when I lost it and decided I need to figure out why this is happening, how it’s happening, and so that’s when I started tracking pursuits,” Farris said.

He found that they are happening too often and for non-violent crimes.

Farris is working for federal regulations making pursuit policies consistent and for violent felonies only.

“No one has done anything with high-speed pursuits for the last 20 years,” said Trevor Fischbach, president of StarChase.

Fischbach is working to develop technology so police don’t have to chase at all.

“It’s mounted to the patrol car,” he said.

It may look like an Inspector Gadget car, but StarChase allows police officers to launch a GPS device onto a suspect’s car.

Statistic show it works, allowing police to track the suspects without having to use high speeds and putting others’ lives at risk. However, it does come with a price tag.

“Today we hear these stories and some are obviously much more tragic than others and this is definitely a tragic one. That is why we are working so hard to provide this technology to agencies,” Fischbach said.

Right now about 100 police agencies are using StarChase, none in Tennessee.

To get involved with Pursuit for Change, click here to visit their website. There is also a petition to help get new legislation enacted.

Copyright 2016 WSMV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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Toyota Prius Commercial Update – June 28, 2016

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By Jonathan Farris

We were previously told by Toyota USA officials that the final run of Prius police chase advertising would end on June 26, 2016. However, on June 27th several Pursuit For Change followers indicated they saw the commercials again.

I immediately contacted the Toyota USA executive with whom I have been dealing. Here is his update to me, as of June 28, 2016.

I was able to discover the confusion today with our media team. In my previous communications I have asked them about the broadcast flights that support the Prius campaign. This information is what I have shared.

Today I learned that we have evergreen media sponsorships with a few media outlets like ESPN Sports Nation and CBS This Morning. The frequency and weight of these spots is minimal, but they obviously get noticed. The media team doesn’t consider these part of the campaign flight so I didn’t ask the questions as specific as I should have.

I apologize for this confusion.

Based on this new information we have made arrangements to replace the Prius work in these rotations this week. Saturday July 2nd is the final day that any of the spots will show up. We also reviewed other digital video units and those too will be on the same timing.

Again, I’m sorry for the seemingly misleading comments I have given you. This has been a new experience for me to handle and it’s now clear that I simply didn’t ask our media team enough questions about the different ways our media is placed. It’s not as clear cut as simply the broadcast work. It was never my intent to mislead you or your supporters in any way.

adminToyota Prius Commercial Update – June 28, 2016
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Our View: City, county should have common police chase policy

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Thanks to the Rockford Register for this editorial. They make very good recommendations regarding more commonality of different departments’ pursuit policies. If lives are truly to be saved, then move to a policy allowing pursuits for only violent felonies. And support local law enforcement with additional driving training and the ability to try new pursuit reduction technologies.
Jon Farris – Chief Advocate, Pursuit For Change


Photo credit: Illinois State Police work the scene of a fatal accident Monday, Feb. 8, 2016, on South Springfield Avenue at Cunningham Road in Rockford.  RRSTAR.COM FILE PHOTO


Original post: http://www.rrstar.com/opinion/20160612/our-view-city-county-should-have-common-police-chase-policy

We’ve been critical of the Rockford Police Department’s “no chase” policy in the past. That’s why we are pleased that new Rockford Police Chief Dan O’Shea has changed the department’s policy to one that’s reasonable and gives officers the authority to decide when and when not to chase, based on several criteria.

In a meeting with the Editorial Board last week, O’Shea said Rockford police will chase violent offenders who are considered an imminent threat to others, based on traffic conditions, the time of day and the presence of pedestrians. If an officer is shot, the police definitely will chase if at all possible.

Meanwhile, the Winnebago County Sheriff’s Department continues its “pedal to the metal” policy. Last week, a sheriff’s deputy went on a high-speed chase, at one point reaching 100 mph, to pursue someone because he wasn’t wearing a seat belt and the deputy thought he saw the driver of the Chevy Tahoe reaching down under the seat to maybe hide something. This was at 10:24 p.m., in the darkness of night.

The deputy tried to pursue the car, but it sped away. The chase led from southeast Rockford to Illinois 251 to Perryville Road, where the Tahoe was traveling in the wrong lane. The deputy stopped chasing at that point.

This is the latest in a series of high-speed chases by the Sheriff’s Department, one of which ended in the death of Joy Lambert, 55, who was on her way to work at BMO Harris Bank. The deputy didn’t hit her, but the car he was chasing at a high speed on Springfield Avenue did.

Another sheriff’s chase ended up with the chased car wrecked on the sidewalk directly in front of Rockford City Hall.

None of those chases involved suspects who were immediate threats to public safety.

We’ve applauded Sheriff Gary Caruana for his efforts to beef up crime fighting throughout the county with an emphasis on high-crime areas. But we think the sheriff’s chase policy should be rethought, with greater emphasis put on the safety of innocent bystanders and the officers.

In fact, we urge the city and county to adopt a common policy and training regimen to ensure that everyone is on the same page and knows the same driving techniques. Throw in the Rockford Park District, Loves Park Police and rural village departments, too.

There is no question that police chases are inherently dangerous to the public.

A USA Today analysis published in 2015 found that “More than 5,000 bystanders and passengers have been killed in police car chases since 1979, and tens of thousands more were injured as officers repeatedly pursued drivers at high speeds and in hazardous conditions, often for minor infractions. … Police across the USA chase tens of thousands of people each year, often causing drivers to speed away recklessly.”

The International Association of Chiefs of Police, based in Alexandria, Virginia, has a model “vehicular pursuit policy,” updated in 2015, on its website, theiacp.org. We have read it, and it seems logical and reasonable to us civilians.

Here are the first three guidelines:

1. Pursuit is authorized only if the officer has a reasonable belief that the suspect, if allowed to flee, would present a danger to human life or cause serious injury. In general, pursuits for minor violations are discouraged.

2. The decision to initiate a pursuit must be based on the pursuing officer’s conclusion that the immediate danger to the officer and the public created by the pursuit is less than the immediate or potential danger to the public should the suspect remain at large.

3. Unless a greater hazard would result, a pursuit should not be undertaken if the subject(s) can be identified with enough certainty that they can be apprehended at a later time.

The entire policy is online in convenient PDF form. It reads plainly and is very similar to the guidelines O’Shea described.

We recommend all police agencies follow it, so they’re all on the same page when we’re all on the same roads.

adminOur View: City, county should have common police chase policy
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Police Pursuit, Maple Lake 5-Vehicle Crash Might Have Involved Medical Situation

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http://kstp.com/news/maple-lake-5-vehicle-crash-police-pursuit/4164630/ 

Written by Dave Aeikens
Updated: 06/10/2016 9:37 AM

Photo credit: KSTP / Will Greiner

The investigation continues into a police pursuit and multi-vehicle crash that injured at least four people Tuesday near Maple Lake.

Authorities are trying to determine what happened and whether the driver was suffering from a medical incident or had criminal intent.

The Minnesota State Patrol said 73-year-old Barbara Belka of Rockville was seriously injured in the crash. She attracted the attention of police after a guard rail was damaged in South Haven. When Annandale Police and Wright County deputies tried to stop Belka, she continued. The pursuit was called off near Maple Lake and Belka’s car caused a crash with four other vehicles on Minnesota Highway 55 near Maple Lake, the state patrol said.

“We don’t know if this is a medical or criminal situation,” said Capt. Todd Hoffman of the Wright County Sheriff’s Office.

Belka has not been arrested, Hoffman said.

Hoffman would not say how fast the driver was going when law enforcement ended the pursuit. It’s about seven miles between South Haven and Maple Lake.

The patrol said Belka was taken to Hennepin County Medical Center in Minneapolis.

Four other vehicles and at least three others were hurt, the patrol said.

The patrol said 55-year-old Steven Voight of St. Cloud, 20-year-old Mark Borer of Annandale and 39-year-old Wayne Paler of Annandale were taken to St. Cloud Hospital with injuries that are not life threatening.

The state patrol has not released the details of the crash.

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CBN: Stop the Chase – How new technology can prevent deadly police pursuits

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http://www1.cbn.com/cbnnews/us/2016/april/stop-the-chase-how-new-technology-can-prevent-deadly-police-pursuits

Rockdale County, GA — Have you ever found yourself caught in the middle of a high speed police chase?
Though they may be entertaining to watch on television, police pursuits often end in violent collisions that kill or injure thousands of innocent bystanders and police officers each year.

Now, a new technology could change the way officers go after suspects and prevent these risky chases from ever occurring.

These accidents are a leading cause of injury, death, and lawsuits involving police officers, and can cost taxpayers an average of $3 million. But officers aren’t the only ones at risk during a high speed chase.

High Speed Chase Is Not Entertainment

Sheriff Eric Levett, in Rockdale County, Georgia, says anyone can be a victim of a police pursuit.

“With chasing, anybody can pull out in front of you, your breaks can fail, there’s a lot of different things that can cause some type of danger to the deputy and or the community,” he explained.

Jon Farris learned the hard way that in a matter of seconds, anyone can be a victim. His 23-year-old son Paul was on his way home in a cab when a vehicle pursued by police crashed into him at more than 70 miles per hour.

The state trooper went after the driver for making an illegal U-turn, despite the city’s no pursuit policy for any crime other than violent felonies. The officer faced no reprimand because according to state police rules, he was within his right to pursue.

An overwhelming number of police pursuits are started over non-violent crimes and escalate quickly, endangering the suspect, the policeman, and any bystanders along the way.

“Two or three seconds earlier, two or three seconds later than the timing of that pursuit and my son would be alive, so it’s just random,” Farris said. “I didn’t know where to go, I didn’t know what to do after Paul died, so I started researching police pursuits.”

He found on average that one person dies each day as the result of a police pursuit, a third of those deaths being innocent bystanders.

An FBI report uncovered that the true cost is probably two to three times higher than the stated average because pursuit fatalities are only reported at the discretion of law enforcement.

No government agencies track injuries from pursuits, leaving no information on police officers and bystanders paralyzed, brain damaged, or suffering from other life altering injuries.

How It Works

In order to cut down on high pursuit casualties, authorities like Sheriff Levett are investing in new technology known as Star Chase.

“I know that this technology has been a great investment, from the times we’ve launched this GPS tracking unit we have had a successful capture rate,” Levett said.

Star Chase allows officers to deploy a tracking device on vehicles without the driver knowing they’ve been tagged. For about $5000 per vehicle, officers can secretly but safely catch cars on the run.

Officers can deploy the tracker while they are behind a car they are pursuing or from outside their vehicle if a car they pulled over decides to flee. Drivers cannot feel the tracker hitting their car, so they do not know they’ve been tagged.

As the suspect thinks he is no longer being pursued, the officers begin their stealth pursuit, pulling up a map of the suspect’s location and alerting fellow law enforcement where the car is heading.

In most cases the suspects slow down to safer speeds because without the police car following them, they think they have gotten away, letting fellow drivers and bystanders avoid being in the middle of a high speed pursuit.

“When you can launch something and you can track it, you can discontinue the chase and just begin tracking the vehicle. You can apprehend the vehicle and or the suspect later,” Levett said.

So far, only a handful of Rockdale patrol cars have Star Chase, but Levett wants to invest in more Star Chase vehicles because of its success rate.

‘No Injuries’ with Star Chase

“We’ve captured everyone from the ones that we’ve launched,” Levett said. “No injuries to the deputy and no injuries to the community or citizens.”

Most departments rely on decades old tire spikes to stop chases, but even they are rarely used because of the danger involved. Police must also know where cars are heading.

One Rockdale County Police Officer explained the potential dangers to the officer when deploying spike strips.

“Trying to deploy stop sticks sometimes is very dangerous, especially if you put them out and the car swerves toward you, I’ve seen several videos of officers getting struck trying to deploy spike strips,” the officer said.

Levett admits new technology can be expensive, but he says it’s nothing compared to the cost of chases gone wrong.

“When you talk about the fees, the car is possibly going to be totaled, but the deputy was also life lighted to a nearby hospital,” he said. “So your incurring the fees of you know, air ambulance, your incurring the fees of him being hospitalized, and then aftercare where he’s going to go to therapy or just going to the doctor.”

“And not only that, the agency is losing a man or a woman that is down for weeks,” he added.

Levett says providing officers the right tools protects their safety as well as the citizens.

“Behind the badges of those who put on this uniform are humans,” Levett said. “They walk out the doors kissing their loved ones, telling them that they love them not knowing if they’re ever going to return back to the house again because they are leaving that home to protect and serve the people of their city, their county and this great state.”

“I want the people to know that we’re out here doing the best that we can, and all we want to do is protect and serve you,” he said.

Since his son’s death, Farris has worked hard to raise awareness of this issue on a national level. He started an advocacy group called Pursuit for Change, which encourages lawmakers to dedicate funding for increased pursuit safety and training,

The group also wants mandatory reporting for all police pursuits and rethinking of the current pursuit policies in hopes of preventing more unnecessary lives lost, like his son Paul’s.

“If we can get changes that will save a life a day, that’s a pretty big deal,” Farris said.

**Help Jon Farris in his efforts to prevent unnecessary police pursuits by signing his Change.org petition here**

Reposted from CBN News

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Toyota Prius Police Chase Advertising Update

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On May 27, 2016 Jon Farris met with Toyota USA executives to discuss the Prius police chase advertising campaign. Although we’ll have more updates soon, here are two important points that came from the meeting:

  1. All Prius police chase ads will cease by June 20th
  2. The Toyota team has committed to not use police chases in any future ad campaigns

I want to thank these executives for a very respectful and productive meeting.

 

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Misdemeanor Violation Police Chase Injures Innocent Bystanders

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So unnecessary. This really needs to stop.

ORIGINAL ARTICLE:
http://www.columbiamissourian.com/news/three-hospitalized-when-high-speed-chase-ends-in-two-car/article_2feafee4-2298-11e6-95be-f375e1223eb3.html

Three hospitalized when high-speed chase ends in two-car crash in south Columbia

COLUMBIA — A high-speed chase that began on Interstate 70 near Midway on Wednesday morning resulted in a two-car crash near Providence Road and Nifong Boulevard and ended in the arrest of a Macon man.

The chase began when a Missouri State Highway Patrol airplane pilot witnessed a green Chevrolet pickup speeding east past the 120-mile marker on I-70. Troopers tried to stop the driver — later identified as 24-year-old Michael C. Wills — but he sped away, leading them east on a chase.

Wills exited at Midway, traveled south on Route UU, reached Route K and went back through the Columbia city limits. The highway patrol was assisted during the pursuit by the Columbia Police Department and the Boone County Sheriff’s Department.

Law enforcement attempted to set up spikes to stop Wills at Route K and Providence Road, but the vehicle avoided the spikes and continued driving northbound, eventually crossing into the southbound lanes. The truck then struck a black Acura that was traveling southbound on Providence.

“(Wills) was driving very aggressively before that,” said Highway Patrol Corporal Scott Ballard.

Candice Ward, 27, of Moberly was also in the Chevrolet. Cory Via, 25, of Columbia was driving the Acura. Ward was wearing a seat belt at the time of the crash, but Wills and Via were not. Both vehicles were totaled.

The three individuals’ injuries were described as moderate to serious. All were taken to University Hospital.

Willis was arrested Wednesday on the following charges:

  • felony resisting arrest
  • two charges of felony assault in the second degree
  • tampering with physical evidence
  • speeding
  • possession of 35 grams or less of marijuana
  • unlawful possession of drug paraphernalia
  • driving while driver’s license is revoked
  • no seat belt
  • no insurance
  • driving in the wrong direction on a divided highway

The speed of the vehicles at the time of the crash is unknown. The investigation is ongoing.

Supervising editor is William Schmitt.

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Nine Years. Celebrating Paul Farris With Music

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May 27, 2016 is the 9th anniversary of Paul’s death. I usually write a short blog focusing on Paul and how his death impacted so many people – especially Roberta, Scott and me.

But this year I’d like to try something different.

For those of you who knew Paul personally, he was passionate about music. He began listening to mom and dad’s favorite bands and artists at a very young age. As he got older he began to sing and perform, first in school choirs and then in bands and by himself. Most of the music  recorded by Paul and the bands Paul was in is now housed at our memorial site (http://www.paulfarris.org). Many of the bands I still listen to today came to me via Paul.

So, back to this nine year anniversary. I  wonder what musical genres, bands and singers Paul would be listening to today if he were here with us?  

To you, his friends and acquaintances, how about participating in an experiment and sharing your thoughts and song selection(s) with me at Jon@PaulFarris.org or Jon@PursuitForChange.org.  I’ll collect everyone’s songs and publish a list with links to the songs (or videos).

Thanks!

Here are a few I think he might have discovered and sent to me…
> Niamh by KieTheVez: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z4r6zSprfSQ
> Adrift by Lunatic Soul: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OJrb4uFITWU
> Senza Tempo by Paul Cusick: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mp83pbz_03k
> Caterpillar and the Barbed Wire by Riverside: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QHU-LeDpR14

Some photos of Paul and theMark bandmates:

Paul & theMark1 boston 018 theMark 09292003 tshirt2 mark_header2 Brown University concert Tuft's choir - Paul Farris Paul singing Spring Fling (Tufts) theMark group_052004a-1(2) theMark tourbackground theMark IMG_0166 theMark BU Battle 3 theMark IMG_1482 Alec & Paul DSC00937 theMark Picture 012 theMark  PaultheMark DSCF0028 theMark theMark 02112006_renamed_8447 Paul 2003 guitar-sing Paul Farris - theMark 1

 

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COMMERCE, JUSTICE, SCIENCE, AND RELATED AGENCIES APPROPRIATIONS BILL, 2017

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Pursuit For Change is making headway!  

Mr. CULBERSON, from the House Committee on Appropriations, submitted the following REPORT.

The Committee on Appropriations submits the following report in explanation of the accompanying bill making appropriations for Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2017, and for other purposes.

The Committee encourages the Bureau of Justice Statistics to develop a data collection process to accurately capture the number of deaths and injuries from police pursuits and high-risk vehicle events. 

The Committee notes that Byrne/JAG funding can be used for pursuit technology and training to reduce deaths and injuries during high-risk vehicle events.

adminCOMMERCE, JUSTICE, SCIENCE, AND RELATED AGENCIES APPROPRIATIONS BILL, 2017
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Pursuit For Change and Toyota USA

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Persistence, people. If your mission is sound, then stay the course and fight the fight…

On May 27th, the 9th anniversary of Paul’s death, two Toyota USA senior management VPs are flying to Madison to meet with Jon Farris, Chief Advocate of Pursuit For Change.

They will discuss the Prius #PoliceChase advertising campaign and how Toyota can support the Pursuit For Change mission.

Never a dull moment in the quest to reduce unnecessary #PoliceChases and save lives of innocent bystanders and law enforcement officers.

An Open Letter To Toyota USA

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Feds fail to track deadly police pursuits

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Tom Frank
USA Today
September 29, 2015

http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/2015/09/29/nhtsa-police-high-speed-pursuit/72617864/

The U.S. government has drastically understated the number of people killed in high-speed police car chases, potentially by thousands of fatalities over several decades, a USA TODAY investigation shows.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration overlooked at least 101 motor-vehicle deaths in 2013 that were related to a police chase, according to a USA TODAY review of police reports and internal documents, court records, police-car videos and news accounts based on police statements. NHTSA’s count of 322 chase-related deaths in 2013 — the most recent year for which its records are publicly available — understates the total by at least 31%, the investigation shows.

NHTSA’s undercount suggests that the actual number of people killed in police chases since 1979 could be more than 15,000 — far more than the 11,506 chase-related deaths found in the agency’s public records — and that chases result in a death much more frequently than studies have stated.

The findings expose potentially major flaws in how the federal government tracks motor-vehicle fatalities and, to a lesser extent, how police document high-speed chases, which often result in innocent people being killed and have been sharply restricted in some cities. USA TODAY reported in July that as many as one-fourth of those killed were bystanders and another one-fourth were passengers in cars fleeing police.

In most of the 101 deaths found by USA TODAY, the failure to say they were related to a police chase points to problems with how NHTSA gathers information from states on fatal crashes and codes the crashes in a database used by Congress, safety experts, local officials and insurance companies to find trends and possible safety improvements in motor vehicles, driving laws and policies.

“That’s pretty significant,” said Frederick Rivara of the University of Washington, a leading researcher on accident and injury prevention who has studied fatal police chases. “You would not expect to have that amount of undercounting,”
USA TODAY
High-speed police chases have killed thousands of innocent bystanders

NHTSA had no explanation for the findings and said it is now reviewing 30 crashes that it lists as not involving a chase but for which USA TODAY obtained a police report stating a chase was active at the time of a crash, or was related to a crash. Those 30 crashes resulted in 39 deaths.

“We are very interested in understanding if the cases were coded correctly,” NHTSA said in a statement, adding that it might consider changing the training and guidance it gives analysts. “We do appreciate your bringing these to our attention since we want to publish the best data possible.”

NHTSA is charged with recording and analyzing every fatal motor-vehicle crash, yet it has no record at all of at least 26 crashes, resulting in 38 deaths, that involved a motor vehicle being chased by police in 2013. The omissions include two of the year’s deadliest crashes: a police chase on March 20 in Kingsville, Texas, that resulted in seven deaths, and a Nov. 23 chase Falfurrias, Texas, that ended with five passengers being killed. Both crashes involved smugglers carrying undocumented immigrants and were well publicized.

The omissions also raise questions about NHTSA’s assertion in a July report that “nearly 100% of crashes involving a fatality make it into (the) database.”

“These data are critically important for helping us make the public safer and making motor vehicles safer and better,” Rivara said. “The community that does research on injuries trusts the NHTSA data for being accurate.”

Frederick Rivara is a leading researcher on accident
Frederick Rivara is a leading researcher on accident and injury prevention who has studied fatal police chases. (Photo: Handout)
NHTSA, an arm of the Department of Transportation, analyzes police reports, death certificates and other records for each of the roughly 30,000 fatal crashes a year, and codes each crash in a database on dozens of factors that may have caused or influenced the crash, ranging from a motorist’s speed, sobriety and driving history to the weather and road condition.

Although the database helps guide policy, the agency and police officials have long known about potential inaccuracies in the agency’s annual count of fatal police chases because the nation’s 18,000 police departments document crashes in widely varying ways, and NHTSA has no requirement that police note they were chasing a motorist. The International Association of Chiefs of Police in 1996 urged NHTSA to establish standards on when police departments should report chases so the agency could “accurately account for all pursuits.”

But NHTSA’s 148-page crash-reporting guidelines, first published in 1998, say nothing about reporting police pursuits, and its coding manuals are vague about when NHTSA analysts should list a crash as involving a chase.

“There’s no national database on any number of things police do,” said John Firman of the chief’s association, noting a dearth of information on police use of force that led to President Obama’s Police Data Initiative, launched in May. “The overarching issue is that in critical issues surrounding police activity, everybody wants to be able to say, ‘Here is a definitive, reliable database, so we can talk about national, regional and local issues.’ ”

USA TODAY found the 101 chase-related deaths by searching the Internet and a news database for articles. There could be more deaths that were not publicized by police or a news organization.

Researchers have used NHTSA data on police chases to recommend policies, including restrictions on the type of offenses for which police should chase a motorist. A growing number of police departments permit chases only of fleeing drivers suspected of a violent felony.

But by undercounting chase-related deaths, NHTSA could be unintentionally easing pressure on police to restrict chases, said Geoffrey Alpert of the University of South Carolina, a leading researcher on pursuits who has done studies for the Justice Department.

“It becomes less of an issue for the public and the politicians,” Alpert said, adding that NHTSA should stop counting chase-related deaths if it can’t count them precisely. “If it’s not accurate, why put out all these numbers?”

NHTSA spokesman Gordon Trowbridge, asked earlier this year how accurate the agency records are concerning police chases, said, “To the extent that information included in police action reports accurately reflects what happens, [the database] accurately reflects that information.”

NHTSA relies on analysts from each state to enter crash details into its database, and those analysts generally review only a police crash report, which typically runs a few pages and includes basic information about the people and motor vehicles involved along with a one-paragraph narrative. Some police departments do not mention a chase on the crash report, recording it instead on a separate, more-detailed document that NHTSA analysts do not read.

“There’s all kinds of things that NHTSA doesn’t ask about or know about,” said Capt. John Magill of the Miami Township Police in Ohio, where two officers were suspended for violating the department’s pursuit policy following their April 15, 2013 chase, which resulted in the deaths of two people in a fleeing car. The crash report — and NHTSA records — say nothing about a pursuit, which is described instead in a separate police file.

“It’s not my fault that they don’t ask me the right question,” Magill said of NHTSA.

The four-page Ohio Traffic Crash Report, used by police statewide, is typical of state crash forms. It has 50 boxes where officers enter a number or a check mark to note factors such as motor-vehicle type, injury severity and “contributing circumstances.” There’s no place to note a police chase, leaving it to officers to include that information in a one-paragraph narrative, or in a separate report, not read by NHTSA.

“We’re focused on the crash itself,” said Lt. Craig Cvetan of the Ohio State Highway Patrol. “A crash is not caused by a pursuit. The crash is caused by the actions of a driver, so that’s what the report documents.”

In Prince George’s County, Md., near Washington, D.C., police who chased Ronald Hayes Jr. on Dec. 8, 2013 did not mention the chase on the three-page crash report, even though Hayes was charged with fleeing or eluding police as well as manslaughter after he hit and killed two women in a minivan.

The police were not a “proximate or contributing factor” in the crash “and therefore [are] not mentioned” in the crash report, department spokeswoman Julie Parker said, adding that the chase was documented in a separate police record and in a news release. Police would note a chase in a crash report only if an officer was involved in the collision or if the officer’s driving “directly led to the impact,” Parker said.

The Prince George’s incident is one of at least 15 crashes in 2013 in which a crash report — and NHTSA records — say nothing about a police chase, but a driver was charged with fleeing police in a vehicle, or police records other than the crash report describe a chase, USA TODAY found.

Police have wide discretion not only in whether they mention a chase on a crash report, but also in whether they indicate that a chase contributed to a crash. NHTSA says a crash involves a police pursuit if a chase is active at the time of a crash, or if it has been called off but is “related to the crash.” Agency officials acknowledge that the definition is subjective, and that it relies heavily on how police describe crashes.

USA TODAY found 10 crashes resulting in 13 deaths in which police said they had called off their chase. In some of those cases, drivers continued speeding after police stopped, and it’s impossible to tell what role the initial chase played in the crash. USA TODAY did not include those 13 deaths in its tally of 101 chase-related fatalities not counted by NHTSA in 2013.

Contributing: Mark Hannan

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USA Today Police Pursuit Series – Police Chase Deaths Up In 2014

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12/23/2015

Hi Jon,

The story for which you and I spoke yesterday is up on our website —

Police chase deaths up in 2014

http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/2015/12/23/police-chase-deaths-up-in-2014/77762174/

Thanks again. You are always great to interview. It would be great to meet, so please let me know if you’re ever in DC.

Tom Frank
Reporter
USA Today

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Failing Legal System

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1/31/2016

http://www.stltoday.com/news/opinion/mailbag/sheldon-richardson-sentence-sends-the-wrong-signal/article_6c5f69c2-4a1a-5db7-a691-dc814b939db0.html

Op-ed in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch

The legal system has failed in its treatment of Jets’ defensive lineman Sheldon Richardson (“Richardson draws fine, no jail time,” Jan. 27).

To let Richardson off with a slap on the wrist sends the wrong signal about high-speed police pursuits and the inherent risks. Mr. Richardson’s poor decision to flee — at speeds topping 140 mph — did more than temporarily endanger himself. His actions threatened the safety of his passengers as well as the pursuing officers and countless innocent civilians who unknowingly ended up in his path.

With his decision to let Richardson dodge serious penalty, the prosecutor and judge missed an opportunity to send the right message that fleeing law enforcement officials is totally unacceptable.

Each day in the United States, one person dies from a police pursuit and one-third of those fatalities are innocent victims. Chases are inherently dangerous for pursuing officers, with the potential to wreak havoc even greater than the loaded handgun found in Richardson’s car.

While St. Louis appears content to all but reward reckless actions, other police departments around the country are adopting tougher pursuit policies, tougher sentencing, and alternatives to pursuits including GPS tracking technologies to curb high-speed chases altogether.

On a personal level, I am appalled by the decision in this case. I live every day with the pain of losing my son, who was an innocent bystander killed by a vehicle fleeing police. I hope that by raising awareness of this critical issue, future judgments deal severe sentences, and ultimately pursuits like Richardson’s are lessened and nearly eliminated.

To get involved with this important work, please sign our Change.org petition: www.change.org/p/attorney-general-of-the-united-states-prevent-unnecessary-police-pursuits-and-save-innocent-victim-lives.

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NBC Chicago Investigates Police Chases – Part I

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Here is the first of several Chicago NBC5 #PoliceChase newscasts. Incredibly sad stories. Thanks to Producer Katy Smyser ( ) for allowing us to help with her research and thanks for her persistence in sharing the extent of this problem, not just in Chicago, but across the country.

http://www.nbcchicago.com/investigations/Chicago-Area-Police-Pursuits-Kill-Injure-Scores-of-Innocent-Bystanders-378166131.html

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KQRE Prius Police Chase Report

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – An Albuquerque family is joining the push to pull a national television ad.

They believe the ad, which debuted during the Super Bowl, for the new Toyota Prius is insensitive, saying there is nothing funny about bank robbers leading police on a chase.

The original spot starts with bank robbers’ getaway car getting towed. They see a Toyota Prius and make a run for it, in the commercial.

“This thing is actually pretty fast,” an officer notes during the fictional pursuit.

But six years ago last month, the New Mexico Bank and Trust on Louisiana was robbed. A police pursuit then occurred, and the robber, Jeremiah Jackson, crashed into a stop light on Coors near I-40. Janice Flores and Kimberly Aragon Nunez were killed during their lunch break.

Reached by phone in Los Angeles, Lucas Aragon, Kimberly’s brother, said, “It’s been six years, but honestly it just feels like the other day.”

“My initial reaction to the commercial is that it was irresponsible for Toyota to utilize that as a marketing tool to sell their product, and if anything, it just glamorizes and encourages more police chases,” he said.

He’s not the only one. Jonathan Farris, chief advocate for the organization Pursuit For Change, released an “Open Letter to Toyota” on Monday. His son, Paul, was killed nine years ago and was an innocent bystander of a police pursuit.

In the letter, Farris expressed frustration with the series of Prius ads, saying they disrespect victims and law enforcement.

Aragon said, “I think ever since the O.J. Simpson Bronco chase, this has become a form of entertainment for people — and it needs to stop because it kills innocent people, and until it’s affected you, you kinda don’t know how tragic this can be to someone.”

In response to learning about the Aragon family concerns, the general manager of Toyota of Santa Fe said he requested that the regional ad agency pull the Prius police chase ads.

In addition, KRQE News 13 reached out to the corporate offices of Toyota for comment.

“Toyota’s 2016 Prius campaign is meant to be a lighthearted showcase of the unexpected features and improved performance and styling of the all-new 2016 Prius, along with its well-known fuel efficiency,” a statement issued Monday afternoon said. “This tongue-in-cheek parody is in no way intended to be disrespectful of our nation’s law enforcement personnel, whose service to our communities we deeply appreciate, or anyone who may have been affected in this manner by a high speed police chase,” the statement concluded.

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An Open Letter To Toyota USA

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An Open Letter To Toyota USA
May 2, 2016

Hello Toyota,

I thought I’d drop you a quick note. I’d like to reintroduce you to Paul Farris (www.paulfarris.org). I recently talked about him with you, but perhaps you’ve already forgotten.

Paul is my son. Paul is DEAD. Yes, dead for 9 years – killed at age 23. He was an innocent bystander caught up in a police pursuit.

Sadly, he died in a police pursuit similar to those currently being trivialized by your Prius television commercials. It was a police chase that also killed another innocent man and severely injured Paul’s soul mate, Kate.

I know your Marketing and Communications folks have already visited my websites and that pleases me immensely.

I am thrilled that your Marketing leader and I will have an opportunity to meet face-to-face in May 2016.

And I am truly hopeful we will find common ground to support one another’s goals – you selling more cars and me saving many more lives by partnering with law enforcement and legislators to prevent unnecessary police pursuits.

I am honored that you listened to me a month ago and that you made the very responsible decision to discontinue the original Prius police chase / bank robber Super Bowl advertisements.

However, the story does not end there. Not only did you continue your second commercial (with a Prius police car), but you have just launched a truly reprehensible third ad. This one has a group of idiots, driving on a highway and playing ‘chicken’ in front of law enforcement officers pursuing the robbers (https://goo.gl/UNeK1j).

Apparently this is simply a “cute” commercial to you and your advertising agency.

Toyota, Toyota, Toyota. Do you not understand that these commercials are not “cute” in any way whatsoever?

These ads send an incredibly socially irresponsible message to viewers that it’s OK to disrespect law enforcement. And they are certainly not funny to the thousands of us who suffer daily with the deaths or injuries of loved ones as the result of dangerous police chases.

So as a result Toyota, these commercial continue to disrespect Paul, my family, other victims and especially all law enforcement officers who risk their lives for our safety.

Why are you running these ads? May I assume it is to sell your very socially responsible, environmentally friendly Prius?

Perhaps we should not be surprised that Toyota is sending mixed messages: selling a socially responsible ‘green’ vehicle while telling the viewing public it’s OK to drive dangerously and interfere with police.

In your $1.3 billion settlement for covering deadly safety defects, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder called out Toyota’s “shameful” behavior that “showed blatant disregard for systems and laws designed to look after the safety of consumers.” Perhaps laws and safety truly are that low on Toyota’s priority list?

Yes Toyota, I know that you spend billions of dollars on advertising. And perhaps because of that it will be tough for my message to be heard – because media certainly doesn’t want to lose the revenue you provide. I would actually match you dollar for dollar just to stop these ads – if I had an extra billion – but I’m a few dollars short.

So instead I’ll continue to share Paul’s story and use Pursuit For Change as my socially responsible vehicle for truly important change. Changes that will save lives of innocent individuals and law enforcement officers. Many of whom we save will be Toyota drivers. And perhaps one of those saved will be a Toyota employee, or the son or daughter of a Toyota employee.

So Toyota, take a deep breath, step up to the plate and pull the plug on all of your police chase ads today.

I will most certainly thank you. And I know Paul would be grateful, too, if he was still here.

 

Jonathan Farris is Chief Advocate for Pursuit For Change. Jon’s son Paul was killed in a horrific police pursuit crash outside of Boston in May 2007. Jon can be reached at Jon@PursuitForChange.org.

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Police Pursuits / Police Chases. They happen more than you can imagine

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Please visit http://www.paulfarris.org/real-pursuits.html to see lists of daily chases where innocent bystanders and law enforcement officers are being injured and killed. Help us stop the carnage by signing our Change petition and by sharing this site with your local new channels.

adminPolice Pursuits / Police Chases. They happen more than you can imagine
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Toyota Prius police chase advertising

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Help us get these offensive ads off the air. Toyota is totally disrespecting law enforcement and all the thousands of victims who can no longer speak for them selves.

Jon Farris is still working on this ‪#‎PoliceChase‬ ad problem. The original Super Bowl ad has been removed from the air permanently. We are attempting to have the others stopped immediately. Toyota USA VP of Marketing and Communications (the ad boss) is meeting with Pursuit For Change Chief Advocate and founder, Jon Farris, in May 2016.

Sign our Change petition to help the cause.

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Child, officer sent to hospital after police pursuit, crash

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TUPELO, Miss. (WTVA) – A shoplifting call leads to a brief chase, an accident and a police officer being treated at a local hospital.

Tupelo Police Department’s Chuck McDougal tells WTVA that it began with a shoplifting report at the WalMart on North Gloster around 4 p.m.

When police go there, the suspect left in a vehicle and police pursued.

They pulled back from the chase because of traffic.

The car turned on Barnes Crossing Road where another officer responding was coming through the intersection and the suspect rammed the police car.

The offender was taken into custody.

A six-year-old child was in the vehicle and has been taken to the hospital for observation.

Officers are also being checked, but there is believed to be no serious injuries.

Tupelo P.D. detectives and the Lee County Sheriff’s Department are investigating.

SOURCE | www.wtva.com 

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IMPD to review police pursuit policy

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INDIANAPOLIS —  Across Indianapolis each day, suspects run and police chase after them. And, as often as not, police don’t know who or why someone has decided to run from them.

The newly appointed chief of police says vehicle chases must become a balancing act with the issues officers are dealing with in real time.

“In a major city, when you’re driving at a high rate of speed with over one million people, there’s a big danger to the citizens of this community. We need to review that and do everything we can to mitigate the risk to our citizens and our officers,” IMPD Chief Troy Riggs said.

RELATED | Traffic stop leads to police chase  | Robbery leads to police chase, crash

According to figures supplied by IMPD, police engaged in 452 pursuits last year, better than one per day. The vast majority involve more than one pursuing unit resulting in damage to 386 vehicles at a cost of more than $900,000.

The majority of pursuits hit speeds of 70 to 100 miles per hour, lasted two to three minutes and covered a distance of one to two miles.

The union representing IMPD defends the vehicle pursuits, saying that it’s not the officer who initiates the chase, but rather it’s the officer who is merely responding to a suspect’s decision to flee.TheFraternal Order of Police says the U.S. Supreme Court has weighed in on pursuit policy, ruling that officers have a legal obligation to chase down someone who flees from the law.

“Someone fleeing in a vehicle is considered a violent felony. There aren’t too many other violent felonies our community expects our officers to shrug off and look the other way. This shouldn’t be one either,” Rick Snyder said.

The chief plans to appoint a blue ribbon panel to study the pursuit policy and make whatever changes are necessary.

SOURCE | www.theindychannel.com by Jack Rinehart

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4 hurt in Cleveland crash after police chase

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CLEVELAND — Authorities say four people were hurt following an overnight chase that ended with a crash at E. 36th and Euclid.

The six-minute pursuit started early Thursday morning around 44th and Clark after a trooper noticed the back window was out, and couldn’t see a front license plate.

WKYC is told the chase hit speeds between 80-90 mph on I-90 East.

The chase came to an end when the white van went through a flashing red light at E. 36th Street, colliding with an SUV carrying three women.

The driver and all three SUV occupants were taken to a local hospital with undisclosed injuries, but authorities believe all will recover.

Investigators are working to determine if the white van was stolen.

There are conflicting reports regarding whether or not there was a second person in the white van who may have fled the scene.

Shortly after 6 a.m. Thursday, crews reopened the road where the crash took place.

Stay with WKYC for more updates as additional details become available.

Reposted from WKYC.com

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Survivor’s family notifies Rockport of intent to sue over fatal high-speed pursuit

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ROCKPORT, Maine — The family of the sole survivor of a crash that claimed two teenagers’ lives following a high-speed police pursuit last December has notified the town of its intent to sue.

The notice of intent to sue was filed this week with the town by Jeri Vitale of Warren on behalf of her 17-year-old daughter Emily Vitale. The younger Vitale was a passenger in the 2001 Subaru Outback driven by 17-year-old Caleb Byras of Litchfield, who led Rockport police Officer Craig Cooley on a high-speed pursuit from Rockport to Wotton’s Mill Road in Union, where the car crashed and split into two large pieces.

Byras and passenger Kara Brewer, 16, of Rockland, died instantly in the Dec. 5 crash. Vitale suffered injuries to an ankle, police said.

Rockport Town Manager Rick Bates confirmed Wednesday that the notice of claim had been filed, but a copy and details were not immediately available.

Vitale is represented by attorney Peter Clifford of Kennebunk, who did not immediately respond to a telephone message left Wednesday afternoon.

Attorney Benjamin Gideon, who represents Brewer’s mother, has previously said he too plans to file a notice of intent to sue, saying that Cooley was negligent by undertaking a high-speed pursuit in violation of the town’s policy and accepted police practices. State law requires a notice be filed within six month of an incident for someone to sue the state, county or municipal government.

Cooley was taken off patrol duty last month and assigned to full-time administrative duties pending the results of an independent review of the police department’s policy by a consulting firm the town hired last month.

In the past 20 years, Cooley has split his time between being the administrative assistant to the chief and a patrol officer with the Rockport Police Department.

Cooley pursued the car driven by Byras after the Litchfield teen failed to stop when the officer tried to pull him over for speeding on Route 17 in Rockport. The chase lasted about four minutes before the crash occurred.

Cooley had issued a ticket to Byras about an hour earlier for driving 74 mph in a 55-mph zone on the same road.

Gideon said Cooley’s pursuit of Byras violated Rockport’s policy on police pursuits, which was adopted in September 2013 and is the same as the model recommended for all police departments in the state by the board of trustees of the Maine Criminal Justice Academy.

The policy states that only full-time law enforcement officers may participate in a high-speed pursuit. Cooley is not certified as a full-time officer but as a part-time officer, according to John Rogers, director of the Maine Criminal Justice Academy.

The police policy also states that a law enforcement officer “shall not engage in high-speed pursuit if the operator is known” to the officer unless there is “a serious indication of further violent actions if not immediately apprehended.”

Further, the policy states that an officer “shall not pursue vehicles for Class D and E crimes or traffic violations, unless the conditions surrounding the pursuit are conducive to safe operation, management and due regard for the safety of the officer, the public, and the person or persons in the vehicle being pursued.”

Rockport Police Chief Mark Kelley defended Cooley, however, and said Cooley acted appropriately when he pursued the speeding teen driver.

Reposted from bangordailynews.com by Stephen Betts

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Family of innocent driver question why Seattle police engaged in deadly chase

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SEATTLE — A grieving grandmother is demanding an explanation from police as to why officers continued a pursuit that ended in a collision, killing her grandson.

You can see in that pursuit and everything, they were just hauling tail,” said a tearful Pennie Ledford, referring to dashcam video of the chase that police released. “You shouldn’t even be doing that when you’re in the city and somebody could be killed.”

Her grandson, 21-year-old Devin Francis, died early Thursday morning when the driver of a stolen car collided head-on with his vehicle.

Officers were chasing the stolen car down Highland Park Drive. The 16-year-old suspect, who investigators believe was involved in an armed carjacking earlier, was also killed in the accident.

The video shows officers following the car down residential streets until the suspect led officers down Highland Park Way, a steep and generally busy road.

It shows the suspect’s vehicle cross the centerline on a curve and strike Devin’s vehicle. The police video blurs-out the violent impact.

“He was always my buddy since he was a kid,” said Pennie, who uses oxygen because of health problems.

She and Devin had lived together for the past six years.

“He did everything for me, you know, that I needed…because with this there’s a lot of things I can’t do,” she said.

Seattle police chief Kathleen O’Toole issued a public statement saying the fatal pursuit is devastating to the families and the officers involved.

She expressed her condolences and promised a thorough investigation into the circumstances surrounding the chase.

But Devin’s relatives say they don’t need an investigation to answer all their questions.

“If they (officers) would have held back, two people would be alive today,” Pennie said. “This guy didn’t kill nobody, he stole a car.”

Devin’s family has set up a GoFundMe account to help pay for funeral expenses.

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