All posts tagged: advocacy

Another Birthday

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November 2, 2018

By Jon Farris
Today is the 12th birthday remembrance without Paul in our world. He would have been 35 today.
You may think that as each year passes these “special days” get easier for us. You’d be wrong.
Here’s a link to thoughts from Paul’s 33rd birthday. They’re appropriate today, and for the remainder of my time on earth…

http://pursuitforchange.org/voices-of-victims/10-birthdays/

Paul Farris & Rio, three weeks before the police chase that took his life.

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Officers Suspended for Bad Pursuit

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Thanks Chief. A difficult decision, I’m sure. But necessary to change the culture and to save bystander and officer lives.

Original Article here: http://www.tampabay.com/news/pinellas/clearwater/clearwater-cops-suspended-for-unauthorized-car-chase-20180926/

Clearwater cops suspended for unauthorized car chase

by Kathryn Varn (@kathrynvarn)

CLEARWATER — Police Chief Dan Slaughter suspended two officers and a detective after an internal investigation found an unauthorized car chase led to a crash that hurt an officer and two civilians.

Det. Frederick Lise, who led the pursuit after a stolen car drove away from a traffic stop in Largo, got 10 days suspension for violating two policies related to operating department vehicles and insubordination and candor. He will also be removed from the agency’s Special Enforcement Unit.

Officers Langston Woodie and Jesse Myers, the latter of whom was hurt in the crash at Rosery Road and Clearwater-Largo Road, were handed five days of suspension for violating the agency’s operating department vehicles policy. Woodie will also be removed from the Community Problem Response Team.

“We are sorry that a civilian got hurt. We’re concerned that our own employee got hurt,” Slaughter said. “We recognize we’ve made some errors here that we’re responsible for.”

The officers and detective could not be reached for comment.

One of the injured civilians, Zoe Applegate, declined to comment through her St. Petersburg lawyer, Sean McQuaid. But McQuaid said Applegate, 20, broke her wrist and underwent emergency wrist surgery at Bayfront Health St. Petersburg. She also had multiple broken ribs and head and neck injuries. Her 2015 Chevy Cruze was totaled, he said.

“It was an extremely serious accident,” McQuaid said. “They had a green light and the officer just went right through the stoplight … It had to be a traumatic impact and a surprise to her.”

The passenger in her car, William Gamble, could not be reached for comment. His lawyer did not return a call requesting comment.

According to the internal investigation, a woman reported that her black Ford Expedition had been stolen at 9:25 p.m. May 29 from the Ross Norton Recreation Complex on S Martin Luther King Jr. Ave. About 23 minutes later, Lise, who was hired in 2014, saw the stolen car and started following as it traveled south on Missouri Avenue from Druid Road. Woodie, who was hired in 2016, and Myers, who was hired in 2007, drove up to help. A fourth officer positioned himself down the road to throw tire deflation sticks if needed.

The car pulled into a Wawa on Missouri Avenue just north of Rosery Road in Largo, according to the investigation. The officers tried to conduct a traffic stop, but the Expedition got away and pulled out of the Wawa.

What they should have done at that point, Slaughter said, was stop following the car, head back to the city and notify Largo police. Under Clearwater police policy, typically only violent felonies warrant a pursuit. A stolen car does not.

“It’s tough to do. I’ll admit it,” the chief said. “You get in this profession to try to catch bad guys, so as a police officer it’s very difficult to turn around and go the other direction, but it’s for good reason that this policy exists.”

Instead, the officers chased the car west on Rosery Road and through a red light at the intersection of Clearwater-Largo Road. None had their lights and sirens on — another problem, had the pursuit been authorized to begin with, Slaughter said.

“Even if a person had a misunderstanding on what he could or couldn’t do, there’s no excuse for not utilizing lights and sirens when following a vehicle like that,” the chief said.

Lise, Woodie and the driver of the stolen car made it through. Myers collided with Applegate’s car, heading south on Clearwater-Largo Road, in the intersection. His last recorded speed before the crash was 42 mph.A bystander told investigators he ran up to Myers’ car and started pounding on the door. The officer wasn’t responsive at first. When he came to, his first instinct was to check on the civilians in the other car and his police dog, Axe.

Applegate and Gamble were taken to Bayfront. Myers was treated at Morton Plant Hospital. Axe was checked out and cleared at an animal hospital.

Meanwhile, Lise and Woodie continued after the stolen car until it stopped at 18th Street SW and 10th Avenue SW. The occupants got out of the car and ran away. A suspect was later arrested after investigators found DNA and fingerprints linking him to the car.

All three officers said in interviews with investigators that they believe they violated the pursuit policy. Lise, who is also a member of a multi-department habitual offender monitoring task force, got an additional 5-day suspension because he didn’t keep his supervisors in both the task force and Clearwater police fully informed on what was happening.

It put the other two officers, knowing Lise was in the task force with other supervisors, “in a little bit of a quandary,” Slaughter said.

Times senior researcher Caryn Baird contributed to this report. Contact Kathryn Varn at (727) 893-8913 or kvarn@tampabay.com. Follow @kathrynvarn.

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A father who lost his innocent bystander son in a police chase criticizes Milwaukee billboard campaign

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Thank you to Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (@journalsentinel) reporter Jesse Garza (@JJGGarza) for taking time to learn about our mission and for putting together a terrific story.

 

Original publication:
https://www.jsonline.com/story/news/crime/2018/08/31/dad-who-lost-son-police-chase-criticizes-milwaukee-billboards/1146518002/

A father who lost his innocent bystander son in a police chase criticizes Milwaukee billboard campaign

 

Jonathan Farris has never been able to make sense of his son’s death.

Paul Farris was 23 when the taxi he and his girlfriend were in was struck by an SUV being chased by a Massachusetts state trooper after a traffic violation.

“If Paul was killed as a result of a violent felony … where a person’s life was put at risk, we could understand that,” Farris said. “But Paul was killed as a result of a guy making an illegal U-turn.”

Now, 11 years later, Jonathan Farris can’t make sense of new billboards warning four-wheeled lawbreakers of the consequences of fleeing Milwaukee police.

“Does anyone actually believe that a few billboards will have ANY impact on Milwaukee’s criminal driving problems?” Farris, founder of Madison-based Pursuit for Change, asked this week in an open letter to Milwaukee Police Chief Alfonso Morales and the city’s Fire and Police Commission.

The national organization advocates for safer police pursuit policies, more pursuit training for officers and technology that helps reduce the need for pursuits.

 

“Criminals could care less what is printed on a billboard,” Farris said.

The cost of the billboards is even more perplexing to Farris since Mayor Tom Barrett and the Common Council approved funding for expanded GPS tracking technology for new police vehicles.

“If you’re going to spend money, put it back into things that help reduce pursuits,” Farris says in the letter.

Morales has said the billboards serve as a reminder of the reckless driving initiative launched by Milwaukee police, the Milwaukee County Sheriff’s Office and the State Patrol earlier this year.

He added that the initiative is bolstered by his department’s pursuit policy, which was revised a year ago to allow officers to chase drivers suspected of nonviolent felonies such as drug possession and reckless driving.

RELATED: ‘You will be noticing it’: Milwaukee police, sheriff’s office and state patrol ramp up traffic enforcement

RELATED: Milwaukee police vehicle pursuits surge after policy change to target reckless drivers

The department had tightened the policy in 2010 after four bystanders were killed by drivers fleeing police. The policy then stated that officers could not chase for misdemeanor offenses, such as drug possession, or nonviolent felonies, such as burglary.

But aldermen called for an overhaul to the policy after a rash of hit-and-run deaths and the rise of vehicles used as rolling drug houses.”

Morales was unavailable for comment Thursday and Friday, but a police spokeswoman said the reckless driving initiative has resulted in about 2,500 traffic-related citations and the seizure of a significant amount of drugs and illegal money.

“Our priority is to keep the streets of Milwaukee safe,” Sgt. Sheronda Grant said, also noting a 21% drop in fatal crashes.

On June 7, Milwaukee Police Officer Charles Irvine Jr., 23, was killed when the squad he was in crashed on the city’s northwest side during a pursuit of a reckless driver. His partner, Officer Matthew Schulze, was driving and was injured in the rollover crash.

The suspected fleeing driver, Ladell Harrison, 29, has been charged with 11 felonies.

Thousands of bystanders killed, injured

Nationally, from 1979 to 2015, more than 5,000 bystanders and passengers — including Paul Farris — were killed and thousands more injured during police pursuits at high speeds and in hazardous conditions, often for minor infractions, according to an analysis by USA TODAY.

Paul Farris was born in Milwaukee, grew up in Minneapolis and earned a bachelor’s degree in history and political science from Tufts University in Medford, Massachusetts, in 2006.

 

He was the lead singer of an indie rock band called theMark, was working as an insurance adjuster and had just completed law school entrance exams.

“He was an outgoing, active, smart, engaged young man,” his father recalled.

“He had a lot of best friends.”

Early on May 27, 2007, Paul Farris and his girlfriend were in Somerville, Massachusetts, in a taxi driven by Walid Chahine, 45.

Shortly before 1:30 a.m., Javier Morales, then 29, fled a trooper attempting to stop him in nearby Everett for a traffic violation in his Mercury Mountaineer.

Morales led the trooper on a high-speed chase through Everett, Medford and finally Somerville, where his SUV slammed into the taxi, fatally injuring Farris and critically injuring his girlfriend and Chahine.

Chahine died several days later.

Notified of his son’s death by an emergency room doctor, Farris was not aware a police pursuit preceded the crash until after he arrived in Massachusetts to claim his son’s body.

“The State Patrol never contacted us,” he said. “I learned about what had happened from a reporter.”

Javier Morales was charged with two counts each of manslaughter and motor vehicle homicide and sentenced to 15 to 20 years in prison.

State Police later overhauled the agency’s chase policy, placing greater emphasis on assessing potential risk to the public.

Jonathan Farris sought solace by connecting with the families of other pursuit victims and began researching pursuit policies and fatalities.

This led to “activism as therapy” and his eventual founding of Pursuit for Change.

He now travels the country promoting safer pursuit policies among lawmakers, law enforcement agencies and the media and has helped craft legislation to reduce unnecessary pursuits.

“My son would expect this of me, and I’m confident that if it had happened to me he would have done the same thing,” Farris said.

“The only way change ever occurs is if some people get mad enough and something gets done.”

adminA father who lost his innocent bystander son in a police chase criticizes Milwaukee billboard campaign
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NBC Boston 2018 Police Pursuit Investigative Stories

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NBC Boston 2018 Police Pursuit Investigative Stories

A note from Jonathan Farris, Chief Advocate, Pursuit For Change
August 17, 2018

I’m driving across Ohio on Interstate 80 and my phone rings. I don’t recognize the number, so I ignore the call. Several minutes later my phone signals that I have an email. And that’s how this most recent NBC news story came about.
Reporter Ally Donnelly and a team of NBC Boston investigative journalists asked if I could be available for a story they were working on. They also asked to be connected to Kate.
The request came as a result of yet another horrible and unnecessary police pursuit death. This time, a new father was coming home from his first visit with his newborn daughter in the hospital. He was struck by someone fleeing police.

Ally Donnelly, Danielle Waugh and Ken Tompkins were each involved with my interviews. Danielle and Ken drove to Gardiner, Maine to meet with me. Ally met with Kate at the site of Paul’s death. There are also videos about training and technology, the key to saving lives.

Below are the stories and videos.

Victims, Police Want More Training and Funding to Reduce Risk of Police Pursuits

Original story and ALL VIDEOS at: https://www.nbcboston.com/investigations/Victims-Police-Want-More-Training-and-Funding-to-Reduce-Risk-of-Police-Pursuits-490504951.html

A fatal Cape Cod crash has opened up old wounds for families of innocent bystanders who were killed in accidents involving police pursuits. They say a lack of training, funding and scrutiny of police pursuits are putting us all at risk.

(Published Friday, Aug. 10, 2018)

When Katlyn Hoyt’s eyes opened for the first time in days, she thought she was in New York.

But Hoyt was in Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, recovering from a severe crash in Somerville, Massachusetts that left her in a coma.

Perhaps mercifully, she still, 11 years later, has no recollection of that early morning crash on May 27, 2007.

“It’s like I was looking at a movie,” Hoyt said. “That wasn’t my cab. That wasn’t me.”

She also didn’t remember the man in the cab with her. Paul Farris, her 23-year-old boyfriend, died in the crash, along with the cab driver, Walid Chahine.

Hoyt, and Farris’ father, Jon, later found out that a man driving without a license fleeing police had crashed into their cab.

Mashpee Police are still investigating last month’s deadly crash that killed a new father on his way home from the hospital. He was hit by a man being chased by police for driving erratically.

VIDEO 2, https://www.nbcboston.com/on-air/as-seen-on/DIT-CAR-CHASE-5—Copy_NECN-490487621.html?t=1
WATCH: Wild Police Chases From Around the Country

We are constantly seeing examples of police pursuing suspects in vehicles. Many of these pursuits are unavoidable, but there is an inherent risk to the public as vehicles weave through neighborhoods or reach speeds of more than 100 mph on highways. Here’s a look at some notable police chases from around the country.

(Published Friday, Aug. 10, 2018)

The Mashpee crash opened old wounds for families like the Farrises and the Hoyts. Victims of crashes that result from police pursuits, their families, and police themselves say that a lack of training, funding and scrutiny of pursuits is putting everyone at risk.

According to the State Police report of Farris’ crash, Trooper Joseph Kalil spotted a black Mercury SUV make an illegal U-turn on Route 16 in Everett. Kalil flipped on his lights and tried to pull over the driver, but he took off.

Kalil chased, following the SUV into the densely populated residential streets in Medford and Somerville.

The driver, Javier Morales, turned off College Avenue onto Kidder Avenue, where he crashed into the cab carrying Farris and Hoyt at the intersection with Highland Road.

“There should be no reason to have a chase here,” Hoyt said, revisiting the intersection this month with a reporter. “It just blows your mind.”

Jon Farris agrees.

“If I had been told that they were pursuing someone who shot somebody, had raped somebody, truly a violent felon, Paul would still be dead. I would still be heartbroken. But I would understand that,” Farris said. “The fact that a guy made an illegal U-turn and then ran from police, ultimately we found out that he just didn’t have a driver’s license. He was running because he was afraid he was going to go to jail, which he would have. But that made no sense to me. And so Paul’s dead and in my mind, there’s zero reason.”

VIDEO 3, https://www.nbcboston.com/on-air/as-seen-on/pursuitwebextrafinal—Copy_NECN-490509221.html?t=188
   WATCH:  Jon Farris talks about pursuits and Paul
Jon Farris lost his son Paul in 2007. Massachusetts State Police changed their pursuit policy shortly after the crash.

(Published Thursday, Aug. 9, 2018)

Every deadly pursuit feels like a knife in the heart, Farris said. For the last decade he has pushed for more national oversight and accountability into what he calls an underreported public threat.

“No one has a clue how bad this is,” he said.

On average, nearly one person is killed each day in pursuits across the country, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.

In Massachusetts, 225 people have been killed since 1982. Thirty percent were innocent bystanders like Farris and Chahine.

Mashpee police are continuing to investigate a crash that killed three people last month. Police pursued an erratic driver who failed to stop. He ended up crashing head on into an SUV driven by a new father on his way home from the hospital. That crash has stirred difficult memories for victims and families of other police pursuit crashes. They tel…Read more

(Published Thursday, Aug. 9, 2018)

Fred Leland, a retired Walpole police lieutenant who trains police in pursuit conduct, said cops “live in the gray” of unknowns and potential danger when deciding in the heat of the moment whether to pursue a driver speeding away.

“What if I say, ‘You know what it’s not that serious I’m gonna let him go,’ and then he goes down the street and hits somebody anyway?” he said.

Despite the media spotlight on dramatic pursuits, like one a month ago in Las Vegas where an officer returned fire through his own windshield at a fleeing vehicle he knew held dangerous felons, most attempted stops are more mundane.

According to the Department of Justice, two-thirds of pursuits begin, like the crashes in Somerville and Mashpee, with a traffic violation: speeding, erratic driving or a suspended license.

And for police, the chase itself is often a trial by fire. Leland said local departments do not get enough training, and real-world pursuits are not common for a given officer.

“We don’t have much experience in pursuits,” Leland said. “I know we’re the police and you see them on television and you think, ‘Oh you do them all the time.’ But no, we don’t.”

Officers get 48 hours of driving training when they first join the police academy. Pursuits are part of it, but what happens after that depends on their department.

“Some places do more, some places do less,” said Steve Wojnar, chief of the Dudley Police Department and president of the Massachusetts Chiefs of Police Association.

He said all departments have written pursuit policies, but like the situations officers face, none are the same. And he agreed that training officers in pursuits should be mandatory.

“You never know exactly what it’s going to be like. You’re going to constantly reassess and re-evaluate the situation,” he said. “How are you going to function under a stressful situation? Are you going to be able to react? Are you going to be able to react properly?

But, as always, the obstacle for cash-strapped departments is paying for it.

“Training is the last thing to be funded and the first thing to be cut when there’s problems and that’s bad,” Leland said.

Bad, too, for a father who lost a son over an illegal U-turn.

“I don’t want other people to have to go through it. I shouldn’t have to be crying every other day when I’m mowing the lawn. It’s horrible,” Farris said.

Farris has been pushing federal legislation that would require departments to track pursuits and would fund more training. He also favors policies that would restrict when officers can pursue to when the officer knows he is chasing a violent felon.

Wojnar hopes training money could also come from the local police training bill Gov. Charlie Baker signed last week.

#PursuitReductionTechnology

Training and Technology Can Reduce Police Pursuits, But Funding Is Lacking

Some police departments in Massachusetts are re-evaluating their policies or looking for ways to avoid high-speed chases altogether to minimize fatal crashes and severe injuries.

But while many police chiefs agree that training and new devices can help reduce casualties in police pursuits, expensive technological tools and underfunded training budgets inhibit cash-strapped local departments from making changes.

The Methuen Police Department has adopted a cruiser-launched GPS tracking device that allows officers to avoid chases without losing a suspect.

“Anything we can do to avoid a pursuit and make a safer conclusion, we try to do that,” said Methuen Police Sgt. James Moore.

The device, called StarChase, is about the size of a can of soda. It is filled with foam and the tracking device. One end has a sticky pad.

An officer can launch the tracker either from inside the cruiser, or near the cruiser using a key fob, and the data is relayed back to dispatch.

“But we’re not going to chase it at 100 miles per hour, or we’re not going to have people giving themselves a potential for danger just for a person that was stopped for a red light,” Moore said.

Specific training is not required for pursuits like it is for firearms or Tasers. Each department sets its own policy on pursuits where officers and usually supervisors weigh the reason for the initial stop against the risk to the public if they chase. Most pursuits start over a minor traffic violation.

We are constantly seeing examples of police pursuing suspects in vehicles. Many of these pursuits are unavoidable, but there is an inherent risk to the public as vehicles weave through neighborhoods or reach speeds of more than 100 mph on highways. Here’s a look at some notable police chases from around the country.(Published Friday, Aug. 10, 2018)

Officer Derek Licata, the Methuen department’s training coordinator, said training is critical because officers in that instant, or any high-stress situation, goes “instantly into fight or flight mode.”

“It can actually sometimes cause you to lose focus of what you’re doing, kind of end up getting tunnel vision and not really focusing on the big picture,” he said.

According to federal data, about one person is killed each day in police pursuits across the country. Between 1982 and 2016, 225 people have been killed during police pursuits in Massachusetts, about a third innocent bystanders.

Three people in Barnstable were killed late last month, including a new father coming home from the hospital.

That chase started after a driver refused to pull over in Mashpee, and the officer gave chase along Route 28. The driver crashed head-on into an SUV carrying the new father, a Marine. The Marine, the driver, and the driver’s girlfriend all died in the crash.

Listen to the recording of the Mashpee, Massachusetts dispatch and the police officer pursuing the suspect before the fatal crash on July 28.(Published Thursday, Aug. 9, 2018)

“Nobody wants that to happen. Nobody went out with the intent of that happening,” said Fred Leland, a retired police lieutenant from Walpole who now consults with departments on training.

Leland said local departments need more training in how and when to chase. But in the heat of the moment, when an officer hears of a speeding, erratic driver blowing through stop signs, he knows the officer thinks: “Danger. I think this guy’s putting people in danger.”

Methuen has not had to deploy its tracking device, officers there said. And they intend for the system to obviate the need for high-speed pursuits in the city from now on.

“The days of people just chasing cars, for us, they’re over,” Moore said. “We don’t look forward to that and we’re certainly not trained or encouraged to do it.”

Multiple Massachusetts police chiefs told NBC10 Boston they need more funding to buy technology like StarChase and to train officers.

But they are also calling on lawmakers to dramatically increase the penalty for failing to stop for police. They think making it a felony would greatly reduce the number of people who flee.

Currently, failing to stop for police is a $100 fine.

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If pursuits are one of police’s most ‘dangerous activities,’ should policies be stricter?

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Yes. Yes. #PoliceChases should be much stricter.

Pursuit For Change advocates for limiting most pursuits to violent felons only.

If pursuits are one of police’s most ‘dangerous activities,’ should policies be stricter?

Over the last six months, the WCPO I-team has collected records from 40 different police departments and reviewed thousands of disciplinary cases involving officers. Our motives are simple: We want to make sure the people who protect us and enforce our laws are worthy of the high level of trust the public gives them. Read more about this project and why we are doing it here.

SHARONVILLE, Ohio — Cynthia Kennedy, of Liberty Township, was driving along Sharon Road on July 4, 2015, when a speeding vehicle slammed into her car.

“It was very scary for me,” Kennedy said in an interview with the WCPO I-Team. “I did see a car coming very fast, and then I saw policce lights behind it. I saw them coming, and I tried to shift back, but the car wouldn’t move, and he came so fast that I couldn’t get the car in gear.

“It was very traumatic.”

According to a Sharonville police officer’s report, the crash marked the end of a two-and-a-half minute high-speed chase along Interstate 75 around 6:30 p.m. The chase began after an officer observed then 33-year-old Jeremy Baker operating his vehicle at speeds approaching 120 miles per hour.

The I-Team reviewed records from 40 police departments serving the Tri-State, focusing on the agencies in seven metro area counties in Ohio and Kentucky. Reporters studied thousands of incidents involving police in large and small law enforcement agencies to see how police officers are held accountable.

We weren’t sure what we would find when we began collecting these records, but our goal was making sure the public was aware of how law enforcement agencies handle discipline.

RELATED: I-Team investigates how Tri-State police departments discipline officers who break the law

Those records showed that guidelines for high-speed pursuits of suspects can be broad and sometimes inconsistent across jurisdictions.

I-Team reporters also found that even when a department has a policy against chasing suspects at high speeds, some departments do not consistently discipline offending officers.

It’s a regional issue that Cincinnati Police Chief Eliot Isaac said needs fixing.

“I think we should all be on the same page, not only in pursuits, but in most of the things we do,” he told WCPO. “It’s certainly something that I’m willing to be a part of and even take the leadership on to see if we can have a more uniform policy in the region.”

‘Consistent with policy’?

Kennedy, her passenger, and Baker recovered from their injuries, but it could have been a far more tragic story: Law enforcement leaders view emergency vehicular pursuits as a huge safety threat.

“I think vehicle pursuits are one of the most dangerous activities that our officers engage in,” Isaac told the I-Team. “Not only for themselves, but for the community at large.”

Tulsa Police Maj. Travis Yates, who runs a national pursuit-training academy, told USA Today the same thing: “A pursuit is probably the most unique and dangerous job law enforcement can do.

“We’re not taking it seriously enough because we think that one day of training that an officer may have gotten in their academy is going to take effect 10 years later when a pursuit begins,” he said. “Most officers will never fire their firearms ever, but we train one to four times a year” on how to fire guns.

Police ultimately charged Baker with operating a vehicle while intoxicated, failure to control a vehicle and excessive speed, among other charges.

None of the three officers involved in the chase faced any sort of disciplinary action.

Sharonville PD Vehicle Pursuit Report 7.4.15 by WCPO Web Team on Scribd

The internal review documents above include notes indicating the officers were traveling at speeds above 100 miles per hour and weaving through traffic while pursuing Baker. It also indicates an officer ran a red light at more than 50 miles per hour, and that one of the squad cars involved was in pursuit with its emergency lights on, but not its siren.

When it comes to speed, the Sharonville Police Department does not specify a certain speed at which pursuing officers need to stand down. The policy reads:

“When a motor vehicle pursuit exposes any officer, member of the public or suspect to unnecessary risk, then the pursuit is inconsistent with the policy of the Sharonville Police Department and should be terminated.”

The policy also specifies that officers in a pursuit must come to “a controlled slow/stop before proceeding under a red light,” but does not further define the term “controlled slow/stop.” As for the lights and siren — they’re a must.

Of the 30 police pursuit policies WCPO obtained, the most common criteria dictating officers’ best practices are:

  • Nature of suspected offense
  • Public and/or traffic in the vicinity
  • Weather and road conditions
  • Speed of the pursuit
  • Crossing into other jurisdictions
  • Time of day
  • Vehicle equipment (lights, sirens, markings, etc.)

According to Sharonville Police Lt. Jim Nesbit, the review of Baker’s pursuit found nothing that didn’t fit departmental policy.

“In the review of the pursuits, as I understand it, (the officers’ actions) were found consistent with policy that was in place at the time,” Nesbit told the I-Team.

The crash still haunting Kennedy was one of the eight pursuits involving Sharonville officers in 2015. In half of those pursuits, Sharonville officers hit speeds of at least 110 miles per hour. Five of those eight pursuits ended in crashes.

Out of those crashes, the Sharonville department hasn’t disciplined any officers involved in pursuits during the last three years, WCPO’s research indicates.

Across the Tri-State, law enforcement agencies have 44 pursuit policy violations on record since 2013. Discipline ranged from a verbal warning to additional training to — in rare instances — suspension.

Some cases involved officers speeding without their lights and sirens activated, or failing to end a pursuit when they were ordered to do so. In other cases, supervisors got in trouble because they didn’t intervene when there was was a pursuit violation under their command. And sometimes, officers put their own lives at risk by not wearing a seat belt during a high-speed chase, according to police documents.

One case involved a Butler County dispatcher who “froze-up” when a deputy went on a pursuit; other dispatchers had to take over.

Of the 44 reported policy violations, here’s a breakdown of the disciplinary measures taken:

 

Those violations came from these jurisdictions:

  • Blue Ash PD
  • Butler County Sheriff’s Office
  • Cincinnati PD
  • Delhi Township PD
  • Erlanger PD
  • Fairfield PD
  • Fort Wright PD
  • Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office
  • Hamilton PD
  • Lebanon PD
  • Madeira PD
  • Middletown PD
  • Norwood PD
  • Springdale PD
  • Taylor Mill PD
  • Warren County Sheriff’s Office

‘Corrective measures’

Nesbit stressed the importance of officers’ discretion and decision-making in helping avoid these chase scenarios.

“Their good judgment has to come into play when they are in the field,” he said. “Our officers have exhibited good judgment.”

But even in Sharonville’s one pursuit so far this year, an officer drove more than 100 miles per hour on wet pavement. The detailed review noted excessive speed and wet road conditions, but the officer still wasn’t disciplined.

Instead, the officer went through what Nesbit called “corrective measures.”

“Corrective measures were taken to make sure that his decision-making was consistent with our policy and our best practices placing public safety as the number one priority,” Nesbit said.

Those corrective measures did not include a written reprimand or a suspension, nor was the incident recorded as a violation.

Sharonville PD has since revised its policies regarding vehicle pursuits and undid a requirement that officers always pursue if the driver is a felony suspect, even across state lines.

Several police chiefs told the I-Team that inconsistent discipline reflects the inconsistent expectations of officers in pursuits: Some departments never pursue. Some only pursue if the subject is suspected on a felony charge. Some pursue for something as minor as a traffic violation. Some have restrictions on weather or road conditions.

Some have speed limits. Some don’t.

Another common phrase in police pursuit policies: “per the officer’s judgment.”

Having broad language in policy makes it difficult to enforce and discipline violating officers, said Phil Stinson, associate professor of criminal justice at Bowling Green State University. Stinson has researched police practices for decades, and said some pursuit policies are strict, while others allow considerable leeway for officers.

“If there’s no written policy or if the policy is very vague, you’re not going to have much in the way of discipline,” Stinson told the I-Team.

Pursuits’ lasting impact

For Kennedy, just being in a car still gives her anxiety, two years after the crash.

“I get chest pains sometimes,” she told the I-Team. “It’s caused a lot of emotional stress for me.”

Kennedy is part of the roughly 30 percent of people involved in police pursuit collisions nationwide who were just in the wrong place at the wrong time. That’s according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, which says hundreds of Americans die each year in police pursuits.

Meantime, she took the I-Team to the scene of her crash hoping to convince police to slow down and reconsider the urge to race to justice.

“I have, I guess you could say, a little post-traumatic stress from being hit,” she said. “There’s other means of pursuing an individual rather than a high-speed pursuit and endangering others.”

WCPO Web Editor Joe Rosemeyer and freelance journalists Laura Consolo, Kevin Eigelbach, Hannah Hagedorn and Roxanna Swift, contributed to this report.

adminIf pursuits are one of police’s most ‘dangerous activities,’ should policies be stricter?
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Raleigh family hopes teen daughter’s death changes high-speed police pursuit policies

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PFC Chief Advocate, Jonathan Farris, speaks with the news.

A terrific story by WNCN reporter and anchor, . @WNCN

Raleigh family hopes teen daughter’s death changes high-speed police pursuit policies

Original story and VIDEO 


RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – They’re eye-catching, dramatic and unexpected – high-speed chases between criminals and police.

But it’s the people caught in the middle – such as Erieyana Holloway from Raleigh – that’s bringing a sharper focus to the risks these pursuits create when the rubber meets the road.

“I miss her so much,” Sherry Holloway-Burks said in a hushed voice, shaking her head with her eyes closed and a tear-streaked face.

Erieyana Holloway

For Holloway-Burks, it’s a pain no parent ever wants to feel – the loss of a child.

“There’s not a day that goes by that I don’t think about her,” Holloway-Burks said.

On the night of Feb. 23, her 14-year-old daughter Erieyana left her after-school program, caught a ride home to do her homework, but never made it.

Authorities say a car fleeing from Garner police struck her van.

Police say they had stopped the driver of that car, 18-year-old Kawme McGregory, for speeding, but he sped off as officers approached. They gave chase through Garner and eventually lost sight him.

RELATED: 2 killed in Raleigh crash during police chase that began in Garner

Down the road in Raleigh, they found the van Erieyana was riding in on its side, and McGregory’s wrecked sedan nearby.

McGregory’s passenger, 25-year-old Shaday Taylor, lost her life, as did Erieyana.

“I can’t believe she’s not here,” Holloway-Burks said with a heavy sigh.

“One person a day dies in a police pursuit,” Jonathan Farris said when he learned about the deadly crash.

Farris is with “Pursuit for Change,” a national police pursuit victims’ advocacy group. It focuses on policy, legislation, technology and training to save innocent civilian and police lives.

He knows Holloway-Burks’ pain all too well.

“Ten years ago, my son was killed,” Farris said. “It was the result of a pursuit that occurred after an illegal U-turn.

“The driver failed to stop for the officer and they pursued.”

Both of these cases point to the biggest change Farris’ group aims to make when it comes to police chases – stop using them for lesser crimes.

“Today, about 90 percent of pursuits are [for a] non-violent felony,” Farris said. “The majority are misdemeanors, traffic violations or something of that sort.”

Farris travels the country providing training to law enforcement to help guide their decision-making process of when to pursue. He also points to technology, such as GPS tracking “darts” and OnStar services that can disable a car, as alternatives to high-speed pursuits.

He says federal grants are available for that technology, and he thinks that’s more cost-effective in the long run, especially considering lawsuits against police departments brought on by grieving families.

“Sadly, that’s what we see most often,” Farris said. “There’s some event, typically tragic, [where] someone is either grievously hurt or someone is killed or a lawsuit is filed before the changes occur.”

“It’s not fair that she’s not here,” Eriel Holloway said with tears streaming down her face. “She should be here with us.”

Eriel is Erieyana’s twin sister. When she spoke with CBS North Carolina’s evening anchor Sean Maroney, she had just turned 15 years old.

“It’s not the same,” Eriel said, wiping away the tears that continued to flow freely. “Each year on our birthday we used to eat cake together, to celebrate together.

“Now it’s just me all by myself.”

“Mothers need to embrace their children,” Holloway-Burks said, sitting near her remaining twin daughter. “Hug them and kiss them every day.”

“When they walk out that door,” Holloway-Burks gestured to the front door, her voice breaking and tears starting to flow again, “they’re not guaranteed to walk back through it.

“It’s not promised.”

Erieyana’s family has enlisted the services of an attorney. CBS North Carolina reached out to Garner police, and they didn’t want to go on camera or comment on this case, citing “a recent pursuit that still may go to litigation.”

However, they did send CBS North Carolina a copy of their vehicle pursuit policy, as did Raleigh and Durham’s police departments and the North Carolina State Highway Patrol.

After a change to their policy this summer, the Highway Patrol now restricts state troopers from pursuing a vehicle in a chase if the fleeing car is traveling more than 55 miles per hour and the suspect did not commit a felony.

Read the vehicle pursuit policies here:

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Revised MPD pursuit policy now in effect

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Excellent story by reporter Evan Kruegel at Milwaukee’s CBS 58.

            Original story here
 
Milwaukee Police officers now have the authority to chase vehicles driving recklessly or involved in mobile drug dealing. Those revisions to the department’s pursuit policy went into effect Friday September 22nd.

The Milwaukee Fire and Police Commission ordered those changes back in July, after a majority of Common Council members wrote a letter asking them to explore changes. According to those alderman, drivers were fleeing police with no fear of being chased, due to tight restrictions. Before the revisions, officers could only pursue violent felons, and cars involved in violent crimes.

Earlier this month, Alderman Bob Donovan called the new policy “a step in the right direction.”

Crash Victims

A number of local families however, aren’t seeing it that way. In late 2009, four innocent people were killed in police pursuits in Milwaukee, prompting Chief Ed Flynn to restrict the chase policy.

Jonathan Farris runs “Pursuit for Change”, a Madison-based group advocating for stricter chase policies. Farris’ son Paul was killed in 2007, when a car fleeing from police slammed into a taxi he was taking in Boston.

“At that point I started researching police pursuits, because it didn’t make sense that they went and chased some guy who made an illegal U-turn.”  The new Milwaukee policy won’t allow pursuits for that, but could make way for pursuits involving speeding cars, or cars running red lights.

“There’s an extremely high likelihood that in the not-so-distant future, somebody in Milwaukee is going to be injured or killed because of a pursuit that occurred because of these changes.”

Farris is advocating for more federal and state money to fund things like “starchase”, which attaches a GPS dart to fleeing cars. Milwaukee Police have this technology, but it’s unclear how often it’s being used.

In a statement Friday, the Fire and Police Commission said it will be closely monitoring the results of the new policy, saying “police pursuits should be a last resort, not a first.”

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Why MFPC Wants More Police Pursuits

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It is my personal opinion that this is a case of a Commission ceding to City Alders’ pressure. Departmental micromanagement by MFPC and a forced weakening of a strong policy, such as currently mandated, will most certainly result in more deaths of innocent Milwaukee citizens.  -Jonathan Farris, Chief Advocate, Pursuit For Change

Here is the link for Jon Farris’ comments to the MFPC in July. http://www.pursuitforchange.org/advocacy/statement-for-the-milwaukee-fire-police-commission/

 

 

 

 

 

ORIGINAL OP ED: http://urbanmilwaukee.com/2017/08/23/op-ed-why-fpc-wants-more-police-pursuits/
We seek to work cooperatively with police chief while responding to community concerns.
By – Aug 23rd, 2017 11:23 am

Why FPC Wants More Police Pursuits

The opinion of Matthew Flynn in the August 18th Op Ed in this publication, while a valuable contribution to the pursuit policy debate, nonetheless rests on some fundamental mischaracterizations which should be corrected in order for the public to have an honest understanding of the directive recently issued by the Fire and Police Commission.

He begins be stating that “the MPD would be required to continue high speed pursuits of automobiles under some circumstances.” This is false. The directive does not require police pursuit in any circumstance, it instead allows pursuit in certain additional specific circumstances. Current policy language already affords the involved officers discretion when deciding whether or not to pursue and our directive does not demand any change to this discretion.

Many people, including Mr. Flynn, attempt to infer that our directive demands that drivers would be pursued for traffic offenses. While the reason an officer might attempt to pull a vehicle over could likely indeed be a traffic offense, the reason a pursuit might be initiated is because the subject driver is fleeing from a lawful traffic stop at high speeds. The act of fleeing can be a violent felony, and it is the driver of the fleeing vehiclewho is using reckless deadly force by fleeing dangerously at high speed, and it is the driver of the fleeing vehicle who is endangering the public. Furthermore, the reactive pursuit action by law enforcement in these situations is clearly and unambiguously justified by the US Supreme Court majority opinion in Scott v. Harris. Despite this wide legal latitude, the directive keeps in place the existing overarching theme of restriction to the practice and only broadens the existing pursuable offenses modestly and reasonably to include mobile drug dealing, fleeing from police multiple times, and excessively reckless driving.

It is true when the author states “There are many methods and technologies to arrest drivers later, even drivers of stolen cars.” The Fire and Police Commission fully supports and encourages the use of alternative methods for apprehending fleeing drivers. This is why our directive also calls for a follow-up report from the MPD which we hope will show progress in the department’s efforts in non-pursuit follow up. The FPC was forced to ask for such a report on non-pursuits precisely because of the unsatisfactory findings in our commission’s research report on the topic.

Finally, the claim is that replacing Chief Flynn with another police chief will result in an increase of deadly force by MPD is offensive to the professionalism of our police force. The author presents no evidence to support this claim nor does the directive have anything to do with Chief Flynn personally. The FPC is fulfilling its duty to work collaboratively with the Chief to make Milwaukee’s policing more effective. The FPC was in place well before Chief Flynn was hired and he was well aware of the board’s authority when he accepted the position; Wisconsin State Statute Chapter 62.50 clearly states that the board may prescribe general policies and standards for the departments.

As a diverse group of Milwaukee residents acting as the citizens’ voice in fire and police matters, we take this responsibility seriously and are committed to the goal of reducing crime, fear and disorder in our city. The citizen board members of the FPC have heard the undeniable voice of the citizens of the city who have been begging our body to help the police department make our streets safer, and we have acted with a measured and common sense response.

Steven M. DeVougas was appointed to the Board in September 2013, elected Chair in July, 2015 and re-elected Chair in July, 2016. His term expires in 2018. Mr. DeVougas received his Juris Doctor from Marquette University Law School in 2007. He received his Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor in 2004, with degrees in Economics and English. He is Past-President of the Wisconsin Association of African-American Lawyers and has been named “40 under 40” by the Milwaukee Business Journal.

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Highway Patrol mum on deadly US 23/74 wreck report

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By Kimberly King

http://wlos.com/news/local/highway-patrol-mum-on-deadly-us-2374-wreck-report

Highway Patrol mum on deadly US 23/74 wreck report

The latest report on a deadly Haywood County wreck involving a North Carolina State Trooper is drawing strong reactions from many News 13 viewers. The report said Trooper Hunter Hooper was traveling 115 mph just moments before he crashed into an RV that was making a legal U-turn on US 23/74. (Photo credit: WLOS Staff/NCHP)

 

Highway Patrol says Hooper as doing a “traffic enforcement action” at the time of the July 25 wreck.

One big unanswered question remains about the collision that killed a Florida couple — Who was the trooper trying to stop?

News 13 has asked repeatedly since the crash and has not received an answer.

The Highway Patrol collision report shows a diagram of the wreck and says that the RV, designated as “vehicle 1,” failed to yield the right of way and traveled into the path of “vehicle 2,” which was Trooper Hooper.

The driver of the RV and his wife, Robert and Esther Nelson, died in the wreck.

Highway Patrol has not responded to News 13’s question if the agency has speed policies in place for traffic pursuits.

Jonathan Farris is the founder of Pursuit for Change, which aims to raise awareness about the dangers of high-speed traffic pursuits. Farris said he lost his son Paul in 2007 during a high-speed pursuit that involved a Boston area trooper.

“This is so very similar to stories that happen across the U.S.,” Farris told News 13.

With knowledge of the Haywood County crash, Farris gave this statistic:

“It’s mind-boggling that this continues to happen over and over again because the vast majority, as much as 90 percent, of these pursuits occur as a result of a misdemeanor traffic violation,” he said.

Farris said many high-speed police crashes end in costly litigation for police agencies involved.

Highway Patrol has told News 13 the SBI and the reconstruction team are still investigating this case.

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Preserving Our Memories

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May the memories of our children remain forever…

Jack Phoenix, a.k.a. SAKE, was the victim of a hit and run in 2015. He was crossing Venice Blvd at 8:30 pm on a Sunday night. Police were chasing a stolen car at high speed. There were no lights, no sirens. “TO SERVE AND PROTECT”. He was only fifteen. He would have been sixteen a month later on Christmas Eve.

Visit the SakeForever site to read about Jack and his family’s story
https://sakeforever.com/pages/about-us

Father Nick Phoenix, speaks about the death of his teenage son, Jack, who was struck and killed by a stolen car that was fleeing the police in 2015.
http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/91242034-132.html

This is a horrible and unnecessary story, repeated with frightening regularity across the US.  In this case, Jack’s family has engaged to keep Jack’s dream alive.

Those of us who have lost a loved one in a #PoliceChase are connected in a way that we never imagined possible. It’s important that we remain resolute and strong.

I hope that Sake’s family and friends are able to find inner peace while remembering all that was wonderful about him. 

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Reducing police pursuits while supporting LEO’s

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Original article located at the Pursuit Response website
http://www.pursuitresponse.org/reducing-police-pursuits-supporting-leos/

Reducing police pursuits while supporting LEO’s

By Jonathan Farris, Chief Advocate, Pursuit for Change

Vehicular chases and police pursuit policies are issues often left on the back burner until a bystander or officer is injured or killed. I know this all too well.

While recently speaking to a group of Madison Police Department (WI) recruits, I was once again overcome with emotion remembering why I began this mission to reduce police pursuits for non-violent felonies. My son, Paul, a 23-year-old innocent bystander, was killed during a police chase into a city with a very restrictive policy. My presentation to these Madison recruits was part of my Pursuit For Change work (PursuitForChange.org) in conjunction with the Below100 initiative (Below100.org), a campaign to reduce preventable law enforcement officer line of duty deaths.

After my recruit presentation, as well as after other presentations to more experienced LEOs, many officers approached me to offer thanks for sharing my story. These officers get it; they understand my heart ache. They understand why I’m there, and why I dedicate so much effort to save lives of officers and bystanders like Paul.

Jon Farris presenting to Madison Police Department (WI) recruits

Jon Farris presenting to Madison Police Department (WI) recruits

After several years as Chairman of the Board for the national non-profit, PursuitSAFETY, I made a decision to move in a slightly different direction. I wanted to provide information and value to LEOs across the country. I wanted to share my story directly with legislators in Washington. I wanted to find additional funding for LEO’s use of pursuit reduction technologies and increased officer driving training. I wanted to implement mandatory tracking for all police chase-related deaths and injuries. And finally, I wanted to work toward safer and more consistent pursuit policies. So, as a result, I established Pursuit For Change.

Police Pursuits

Scores of high-speed police pursuits occur daily and there is definitely no shortage of media coverage. The more brazen and deadly the pursuit, the more news coverage it gets. Society sensationalizes police pursuits, and regardless of the horrific consequences, the media feeds their thirst to be entertained. In-car videos of dangerous stunts at high speeds followed by pictures of marred vehicles are exactly the type of coverage affecting the public’s mindset. People have become desensitized to police chases; for the most part, they are unaware of the tragic effects of the high-speed pursuits they watch.

Police pursuits kill an average of one person each day, according to the National Institute of Justice statistics. While the majority of pursuit-related deaths are suspects, an innocent bystander is killed every three days and a law enforcement officer is killed every six weeks. Even without mandatory reporting for pursuit-related deaths and injuries, data from an FBI report stated that thousands of people are injured in police chases every year.

Taken at a state level, the numbers look just as grim. An NBC Los Angeles report shed light on the prevalence of police pursuit-related injuries in the state of California. Between 2002 and 2012, over 10,000 people were injured in police chases, with 321 ending as fatalities. In 2011 alone, pursuits in California resulted in 927 injuries and 33 deaths. Included in those deaths were eight bystanders and one police officer. Other states have equally unacceptable results.

The toll from pursuits is not only measured in lives. A 2016 NBC investigation of Chicago-area pursuits found that taxpayers paid out over $95 million in civil settlements and judgments stemming from 24 separate lawsuits over a 10-year period. That same report counted nearly a dozen more pending lawsuits that had not been settled. So it is realistic to estimate that the sum of pursuit-related settlements in the Chicago area will exceed $100 million over a 10-year period. How many more officers and equipment could be funded by sums such as this?

Keep in mind that these police chase numbers are gathered without any rigorous Federal system in place to mandatorily report pursuit-related injuries, deaths and economic damages. From other studies completed, it is reasonable to predict that actual numbers are significantly higher. A standardized system for reporting pursuit-related injuries, deaths, and damages would be monumental in analyzing and significantly reducing those avoidable pursuits resulting in so much loss and suffering.

Police pursuits with deadly outcomes are nothing new; for many years, LEO and bystander lives have been lost and forever changed as a result. Police chases are a national issue with staggering local effects, yet the problem has largely fallen on deaf ears.

My Mission

My son died during a high-speed police chase in 2007. Paul and his girlfriend Katelyn were headed home when an SUV crashed into the taxicab in which they were passengers. Paul and the cab driver, Walid Chahine, died; Katelyn sustained serious, life-altering injuries. This double fatality police pursuit began over a misdemeanor traffic violation – when the driver of the SUV made an illegal U-turn.

Paul and Katelyn

Question: Is it worth risking innocent bystander lives and police officer lives over minor traffic violations such as failing to yield at a stop sign or an illegal U-turn?

That’s tough to answer because officers do have a duty to enforce the law, but while protecting citizens. Achieving both obligations – enforcement and protection – is extremely challenging. Common sense dictates that engaging in any pursuit should be limited to only the most dangerous and violent offenders. In the heat of the moment that can be a difficult decision for the officer unless their EVO pursuit policy is clear, concise and unambiguous. Most EVO and pursuit policies that I have reviewed do not meet these standards.

At the time of Paul’s death, many people were affected. My neighbor and good friend, Tim Dolan, was one of those.

“While in office, lowering violent crimes and protecting the citizens of Minneapolis was a primary focus,” said retired Minneapolis Police Chief Tim Dolan. “The greatest risk of serious injuries to police and the public come from police chases or pursuits. This is a national issue. I strongly believe in what Jon is doing; I hope agencies take notice and start working to change their policies around pursuits.” – Tim Dolan, Chief of Police (Ret.), Minneapolis, MN

Pursuit Reduction Technology

There are alternatives to chasing. Examples include GPS tracking technology, driving simulator training, emergency smartphone alerts to drivers in the vicinity of an active pursuit, and other measures. Each of these options can be used to apprehend suspects while reducing the likelihood of civilian or officer injuries or deaths.

I have been working tirelessly to find alternatives that will limit pursuits for all but the most heinous of violent crimes. Technology is now a reality and police departments across the country are beginning to consider this in conjunction with stricter policies for their officers.

Unlike many advocates, I am not at odds with law enforcement. Rather, I understand that we have a common goal. I truly appreciate the challenge that law enforcement officers face. I provide information and support relating to reducing chases and making apprehending these criminals safer. I speak for many who have been adversely impacted by a police pursuit, to raise attention to the issue and to highlight the need for alternatives to high-speed pursuits for non-violent crimes.

No family should endure the lifetime pain caused by an avoidable disaster. I hope to minimize incidents when split-second decisions and adrenaline-fueled moments can end tragically, as it did for my Paul.

Pursuit for Change

Our goal is twofold: protect innocent civilians’ lives and protect officer lives. To accomplish this mission, I created Pursuit for Change, a national police pursuit advocacy group. The focus of Pursuit for Change is to push policy, legislation, technology and training to save innocent citizen and police officer lives. Rational pursuit policies coupled with advanced pursuit management technologies and increased training will decrease pursuit-related deaths and injuries.

The reality is that implementing these changes can be just that simple. Although increased training and advanced technologies are proven to reduce the risks involved in pursuits, many law enforcement agencies are unable to acquire necessary equipment because of budgetary constraints. Pursuit for Change is working with members of Congress to help police departments and law enforcement agencies receive necessary funding to adopt safer tactics.

Pursuit for Change is lobbying for a federally funded program for pursuit reduction technology and LEO driving training. Our efforts have united Senate and House representatives on both sides of the aisle.

Our work is also at the local level. My meetings with city and state law enforcement agencies are examples of affecting change at the source. Pursuit for Change is gearing up to work with even more agencies and departments to raise awareness and pursue meaningful change.

Future of Police Pursuits

Imagine a world where every day one more person’s life is saved, every three days one more innocent bystander’s life is saved, and every six weeks one police officer’s life is saved. In this world, police departments have adopted the latest and safest technologies with officer training and internal policies to match. This is a world in which dangerous chases are limited to the most extreme circumstances.

The ideal situation, of course, is to get bad guys off the streets without harming anyone else in the process. The better equipped and trained departments are, the more often they apprehend criminals without incident. We all need to remember that a LEO’s goal and obligation is to carry out their duty to protect and serve while ensuring the safety of bystanders, other officers and themselves.

Saving lives begins with awareness and education. Through the grief of thousands of anguished families and friends, we must support law enforcement while finding and implementing options other than chasing every runner. Officers put their lives on the line every day. It’s up to their command to find every possible means to reduce these risks. Increased training and enhanced technologies will most certainly reduce avoidable outcomes that adversely affect communities and law enforcement agencies alike.

The time is now to prevent other families, innocent bystanders, and police officers from having to suffer as my family has from easily preventable tragedies.

My journey started with horrible sadness and anger. But I continue to focus those emotions into something beneficial and desperately needed for society. I have focused my sadness into an appreciation for the challenges faced by law enforcement. However, I will continue to drive home my message that there are altogether way too many unnecessary pursuits, and LEOs must reassess their direction and policies.

I have focused my pain and heartache into a relentless, but positive pursuit for change.

 

Jonathan Farris is founder and Chief Advocate for Pursuit For Change, an advocacy working to change federal and local pursuit policies by seeking legislation to more effectively track and manage dangerous police chases and helping law enforcement implement pursuit reduction technology. Learn more at pursuitforchange.org.

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Grand Jury: Los Angeles Police Pursuits Cause ‘Unnecessary’ Injuries, Deaths

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July 11, 2017
Original Story: http://sacramento.cbslocal.com/2017/07/11/grand-jury-police-pursuit/

LOS ANGELES (AP) – A grand jury has found police chases in Los Angeles are causing “unnecessary bystander injuries and deaths” and recommended police and sheriff’s officers undergo additional training to reduce the likelihood of crashes during pursuits, according to a report released Tuesday.

The Los Angeles County civil grand jury report found three people were killed and 45 people were injured during 421 pursuits in the county from October 2015 until 2016 and concluded that most of the pursuits were not provoked by serious crimes.

The report, citing information from the California Highway Patrol, found that 17 percent of pursuits ended in crashes with the possibility of injuries or death. Sixty-seven percent of the pursuits ended with arrests, the grand jury found.

The grand jury also found that neither Los Angeles police nor sheriff’s officials have policies in place for recurring or continued vehicle pursuit training.

“Police pursuits are inherently dangerous and that is why the Los Angeles Police Department takes every step to develop tactics and mitigate the risk posed by these dangerous interactions,” Los Angeles police spokesman Josh Rubenstein said in a statement. “We are constantly reviewing our policies and procedures to ensure they support what we value the most: the preservation of life.”

The report also criticized the Los Angeles County sheriff’s department’s training facility, saying it was “substandard.” A sheriff’s official said the department is in the process of acquiring a new training center for emergency drivers.

Deputies receive annual training on the department’s pursuit policy and also undergo emergency vehicle training every two years, sheriff’s Capt. Scott Gage said. The sheriff’s department – the largest in the U.S. – has one of the most restrictive pursuit policies in the nation, Gage said.

The policy only allows deputies to pursue drivers for serious felony offenses, confirmed stolen cars or potentially reckless drunken drivers, Gage said. The department’s policy expressly prohibits deputies from chasing someone fleeing after being stopped from an infraction, he said.

“We’re always looking to do better and have more training in this field,” Gage said. “There’s nobody that’s going to say the training is enough for our folks.”

Copyright 2017 The Associated Press.

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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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Too Many LEO Deaths

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Last night yet another police officer was gunned down by a man using children as a shield. http://www.cnn.com/2016/12/01/us/tacoma-officer-shot/

This officer represents the 132nd LEO killed in 2016, and there is still a month left in the year. I really hope more people begin to get riled up about the loss of police officers’ lives, too, because it and they truly matter.

So, just in case you don’t know how bad it is, take a moment to read the names of the WAY TOO MANY officers killed in the line of duty in 2016 (listing from www.ODMP.org as of this morning). Please visit the Officer Down Memorial Page website to learn much more.

Pray for their families and friends, whose lives will NEVER be the same…

@Below100 @Pursuit4Change #StopTheViolence #ODMP

 
Arlington County Police Department, Virginia
Corporal Harvey Snook, III
Arlington County Police Department, VA
EOW: Thursday, January 14, 2016
Cause of Death: 9/11 related illness
 
Danville Police Department, Ohio
Police Officer Thomas W. Cottrell, Jr.
Danville Police Department, OH
EOW: Sunday, January 17, 2016
Cause of Death: Gunfire
 
Unified Police Department of Greater Salt Lake, Utah
Police Officer Douglas Scott Barney, II.
Unified Police Department of Greater Salt Lake, UT
EOW: Sunday, January 17, 2016
Cause of Death: Gunfire
 
Marion County Sheriff’s Office, Illinois
Correctional Officer Adam Conrad
Marion County Sheriff’s Office, IL
EOW: Wednesday, January 20, 2016
Cause of Death: Automobile accident
 
United States Department of Homeland Security – Immigration and Customs Enforcement – Homeland Security Investigations, U.S. Government
Special Agent Scott McGuire
United States Department of Homeland Security – Immigration and Customs Enforcement – Homeland Security Investigations, US
EOW: Sunday, January 24, 2016
Cause of Death: Vehicular assault
 
Seaside Police Department, Oregon
Sergeant Jason Goodding
Seaside Police Department, OR
EOW: Friday, February 5, 2016
Cause of Death: Gunfire
 
Mesa County Sheriff’s Office, Colorado
Deputy Sheriff Derek Geer
Mesa County Sheriff’s Office, CO
EOW: Monday, February 8, 2016
Cause of Death: Gunfire
 
Tulare County Sheriff’s Office, California
Deputy Sheriff Scott Ballantyne
Tulare County Sheriff’s Office, CA
EOW: Wednesday, February 10, 2016
Cause of Death: Aircraft accident
 
Harford County Sheriff’s Office, Maryland
Senior Deputy Mark F. Logsdon
Harford County Sheriff’s Office, MD
EOW: Wednesday, February 10, 2016
Cause of Death: Gunfire
 
Harford County Sheriff’s Office, Maryland
Senior Deputy Patrick B. Dailey
Harford County Sheriff’s Office, MD
EOW: Wednesday, February 10, 2016
Cause of Death: Gunfire
 
Riverdale Police Department, Georgia
Major Gregory E. Barney
Riverdale Police Department, GA
EOW: Thursday, February 11, 2016
Cause of Death: Gunfire
 
Fargo Police Department, North Dakota
Police Officer Jason Moszer
Fargo Police Department, ND
EOW: Thursday, February 11, 2016
Cause of Death: Gunfire
 
Mississippi Department of Public Safety – Bureau of Narcotics, Mississippi
Special Agent Lee Tartt
Mississippi Department of Public Safety – Bureau of Narcotics, MS
EOW: Saturday, February 20, 2016
Cause of Death: Gunfire
 
Park County Sheriff’s Office, Colorado
Corporal Nate Carrigan
Park County Sheriff’s Office, CO
EOW: Wednesday, February 24, 2016
Cause of Death: Gunfire
 
Prince William County Police Department, Virginia
Officer Ashley Marie Guindon
Prince William County Police Department, VA
EOW: Saturday, February 27, 2016
Cause of Death: Gunfire
 
Las Animas County Sheriff’s Office, Colorado
Deputy Sheriff Travis Russell
Las Animas County Sheriff’s Office, CO
EOW: Tuesday, March 1, 2016
Cause of Death: Automobile accident
 
Euless Police Department, Texas
Police Officer David Stefan Hofer
Euless Police Department, TX
EOW: Tuesday, March 1, 2016
Cause of Death: Gunfire
 
South Jacksonville Police Department, Illinois
Police Officer Scot Fitzgerald
South Jacksonville Police Department, IL
EOW: Friday, March 4, 2016
Cause of Death: Automobile accident
 
New Jersey State Police, New Jersey
Trooper Sean E. Cullen
New Jersey State Police, NJ
EOW: Tuesday, March 8, 2016
Cause of Death: Struck by vehicle
 
Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office, Florida
Deputy Sheriff John Robert Kotfila, Jr.
Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office, FL
EOW: Saturday, March 12, 2016
Cause of Death: Vehicular assault
 
California Highway Patrol, California
Officer Nathan Taylor
California Highway Patrol, CA
EOW: Sunday, March 13, 2016
Cause of Death: Struck by vehicle
 
Prince George’s County Police Department, Maryland
Police Officer I Jacai D. Colson
Prince George’s County Police Department, MD
EOW: Sunday, March 13, 2016
Cause of Death: Gunfire (Accidental)
 
El Paso Police Department, Texas
Patrolman David Ortiz
El Paso Police Department, TX
EOW: Monday, March 14, 2016
Cause of Death: Motorcycle accident
 
West Virginia State Police, West Virginia
First Sergeant Joseph G. Portaro
West Virginia State Police, WV
EOW: Monday, March 14, 2016
Cause of Death: Heart attack
 
Massachusetts State Police, Massachusetts
Trooper Thomas L. Clardy
Massachusetts State Police, MA
EOW: Wednesday, March 16, 2016
Cause of Death: Automobile accident
 
Greenville Police Department, South Carolina
Police Officer III Allen Lee Jacobs
Greenville Police Department, SC
EOW: Friday, March 18, 2016
Cause of Death: Gunfire
 
Howard County Sheriff’s Office, Indiana
Deputy Sheriff Carl A. Koontz
Howard County Sheriff’s Office, IN
EOW: Sunday, March 20, 2016
Cause of Death: Gunfire
 
Des Moines Police Department, Iowa
Police Officer Susan Louise Farrell
Des Moines Police Department, IA
EOW: Saturday, March 26, 2016
Cause of Death: Vehicular assault
 
Des Moines Police Department, Iowa
Police Officer Carlos Puente-Morales
Des Moines Police Department, IA
EOW: Saturday, March 26, 2016
Cause of Death: Vehicular assault
 
Texas Department of Public Safety – Texas Highway Patrol, Texas
Trooper Jeffrey Nichols
Texas Department of Public Safety – Texas Highway Patrol, TX
EOW: Saturday, March 26, 2016
Cause of Death: Automobile accident
 
Virginia State Police, Virginia
Trooper Chad Phillip Dermyer
Virginia State Police, VA
EOW: Thursday, March 31, 2016
Cause of Death: Gunfire
 
Columbus Division of Police, Ohio
Police Officer Steven Michael Smith
Columbus Division of Police, OH
EOW: Tuesday, April 12, 2016
Cause of Death: Gunfire
 
United States Department of Homeland Security – Customs and Border Protection – United States Border Patrol, U.S. Government
Border Patrol Agent Jose Daniel Barraza
United States Department of Homeland Security – Customs and Border Protection – United States Border Patrol, US
EOW: Monday, April 18, 2016
Cause of Death: Automobile accident
 
Florida Department of Corrections, Florida
Sergeant Jorge Ramos
Florida Department of Corrections, FL
EOW: Sunday, May 1, 2016
Cause of Death: Heart attack
 
Bibb County Sheriff’s Office, Georgia
Investigator Anthony “TJ” Freeman
Bibb County Sheriff’s Office, GA
EOW: Thursday, May 5, 2016
Cause of Death: Vehicle pursuit
 
Kansas City Police Department, Kansas
Detective Brad D. Lancaster
Kansas City Police Department, KS
EOW: Monday, May 9, 2016
Cause of Death: Gunfire
 
Phoenix Police Department, Arizona
Police Officer David Van Glasser
Phoenix Police Department, AZ
EOW: Thursday, May 19, 2016
Cause of Death: Gunfire
 
Hilliard Division of Police, Ohio
Police Officer Sean Richard Johnson
Hilliard Division of Police, OH
EOW: Thursday, May 19, 2016
Cause of Death: Motorcycle accident
 
Auburn Police Department, Massachusetts
Police Officer Ronald Tarentino, Jr.
Auburn Police Department, MA
EOW: Sunday, May 22, 2016
Cause of Death: Gunfire
 
Branch County Sheriff’s Office, Michigan
Deputy Sheriff Michael Arthur Winter
Branch County Sheriff’s Office, MI
EOW: Tuesday, May 31, 2016
Cause of Death: Animal related
 
Winnsboro Police Department, Louisiana
Sergeant Derrick Mingo
Winnsboro Police Department, LA
EOW: Saturday, June 4, 2016
Cause of Death: Automobile accident
 
Memphis Police Department, Tennessee
Police Officer Verdell Smith, Sr
Memphis Police Department, TN
EOW: Saturday, June 4, 2016
Cause of Death: Vehicular assault
 
New Orleans Police Department, Louisiana
Police Officer Natasha Maria Hunter
New Orleans Police Department, LA
EOW: Tuesday, June 7, 2016
Cause of Death: Vehicular assault
 
United States Department of Homeland Security – Immigration and Customs Enforcement – Office of Enforcement and Removal Operations, U.S. Government
Deportation Officer Brian Beliso
United States Department of Homeland Security – Immigration and Customs Enforcement – Office of Enforcement and Removal Operations, US
EOW: Wednesday, June 8, 2016
Cause of Death: Heart attack
 
Pearland Police Department, Texas
Police Officer Endy Nddiobong Ekpanya
Pearland Police Department, TX
EOW: Sunday, June 12, 2016
Cause of Death: Vehicular assault
 
San Jose Police Department, California
Police Officer Michael Jason Katherman
San Jose Police Department, CA
EOW: Tuesday, June 14, 2016
Cause of Death: Motorcycle accident
 
Gainesboro Police Department, Tennessee
Police Officer Zachary Tyler Larnerd
Gainesboro Police Department, TN
EOW: Wednesday, June 15, 2016
Cause of Death: Automobile accident
 
Patton Village Police Department, Texas
Sergeant Stacey Allen Baumgartner
Patton Village Police Department, TX
EOW: Sunday, June 19, 2016
Cause of Death: Vehicle pursuit
 
Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office, Louisiana
Deputy Sheriff David Francis Michel, Jr.
Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office, LA
EOW: Wednesday, June 22, 2016
Cause of Death: Gunfire
 
Humphreys County Sheriff’s Office, Tennessee
Deputy Sheriff Martin Tase Sturgill, II
Humphreys County Sheriff’s Office, TN
EOW: Thursday, June 30, 2016
Cause of Death: Heart attack
 
Sterlington Police Department, Louisiana
Sergeant David Kyle Elahi
Sterlington Police Department, LA
EOW: Sunday, July 3, 2016
Cause of Death: Vehicular assault
 
St. Francois County Sheriff’s Office, Missouri
Deputy Sheriff Paul Clark
St. Francois County Sheriff’s Office, MO
EOW: Monday, July 4, 2016
Cause of Death: Vehicular assault
 
Southern Methodist University Police Department, Texas
Police Officer Calvin “Mark” McCullers
Southern Methodist University Police Department, TX
EOW: Tuesday, July 5, 2016
Cause of Death: Drowned
 
Dallas Police Department, Texas
Senior Corporal Lorne Bradley Ahrens
Dallas Police Department, TX
EOW: Thursday, July 7, 2016
Cause of Death: Gunfire
 
Dallas Police Department, Texas
Police Officer Michael Leslie Krol
Dallas Police Department, TX
EOW: Thursday, July 7, 2016
Cause of Death: Gunfire
 
Dallas Police Department, Texas
Sergeant Michael Joseph Smith
Dallas Police Department, TX
EOW: Thursday, July 7, 2016
Cause of Death: Gunfire
 
Dallas Police Department, Texas
Police Officer Patricio E. Zamarripa
Dallas Police Department, TX
EOW: Thursday, July 7, 2016
Cause of Death: Gunfire
 
Dallas Area Rapid Transit Police Department, Texas
Police Officer Brent Alan Thompson
Dallas Area Rapid Transit Police Department, TX
EOW: Thursday, July 7, 2016
Cause of Death: Gunfire
 
Town of Salem Department of Public Safety, Wisconsin
Public Safety Officer Michael Joshua Ventura
Town of Salem Department of Public Safety, WI
EOW: Friday, July 8, 2016
Cause of Death: Automobile accident
 
Berrien County Sheriff’s Department, Michigan
Security Supervisor Joseph P. Zangaro
Berrien County Sheriff’s Department, MI
EOW: Monday, July 11, 2016
Cause of Death: Gunfire
 
Berrien County Sheriff’s Department, Michigan
Court Officer Ronald Eugene Kienzle
Berrien County Sheriff’s Department, MI
EOW: Monday, July 11, 2016
Cause of Death: Gunfire
 
Bellaire Police Department, Texas
Police Officer Marco Antonio Zarate
Bellaire Police Department, TX
EOW: Tuesday, July 12, 2016
Cause of Death: Vehicle pursuit
 
Texas Department of Criminal Justice, Texas
Corrections Officer Mari Johnson
Texas Department of Criminal Justice, TX
EOW: Saturday, July 16, 2016
Cause of Death: Assault
 
Baton Rouge Police Department, Louisiana
Corporal Montrell Lyle Jackson
Baton Rouge Police Department, LA
EOW: Sunday, July 17, 2016
Cause of Death: Gunfire
 
East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff’s Office, Louisiana
Deputy Sheriff Bradford Allen Garafola
East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff’s Office, LA
EOW: Sunday, July 17, 2016
Cause of Death: Gunfire
 
Baton Rouge Police Department, Louisiana
Police Officer Matthew Lane Gerald
Baton Rouge Police Department, LA
EOW: Sunday, July 17, 2016
Cause of Death: Gunfire
 
Luzerne County Correctional Facility, Pennsylvania
Correctional Officer Kristopher D. Moules
Luzerne County Correctional Facility, PA
EOW: Monday, July 18, 2016
Cause of Death: Assault
 
Kansas City Police Department, Kansas
Captain Robert David Melton
Kansas City Police Department, KS
EOW: Tuesday, July 19, 2016
Cause of Death: Gunfire
 
San Diego Police Department, California
Police Officer Jonathan M. DeGuzman
San Diego Police Department, CA
EOW: Thursday, July 28, 2016
Cause of Death: Gunfire
 
West Des Moines Police Department, Iowa
Sergeant Shawn Miller
West Des Moines Police Department, IA
EOW: Wednesday, August 3, 2016
Cause of Death: Automobile accident
 
Amarillo Police Department, Texas
Police Officer Justin Scherlen
Amarillo Police Department, TX
EOW: Thursday, August 4, 2016
Cause of Death: Automobile accident
 
Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, Tennessee
Special Agent De’Greaun Frazier
Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, TN
EOW: Tuesday, August 9, 2016
Cause of Death: Gunfire
 
Sebastian County Sheriff’s Office, Arkansas
Corporal Bill Cooper
Sebastian County Sheriff’s Office, AR
EOW: Wednesday, August 10, 2016
Cause of Death: Gunfire
 
United States Department of Homeland Security – Customs and Border Protection – United States Border Patrol, U.S. Government
Border Patrol Agent Manuel Alvarez
United States Department of Homeland Security – Customs and Border Protection – United States Border Patrol, US
EOW: Thursday, August 11, 2016
Cause of Death: Motorcycle accident
 
Hatch Police Department, New Mexico
Police Officer Jose Ismael Chavez
Hatch Police Department, NM
EOW: Friday, August 12, 2016
Cause of Death: Gunfire
 
Eastman Police Department, Georgia
Police Officer Timothy Kevin Smith
Eastman Police Department, GA
EOW: Saturday, August 13, 2016
Cause of Death: Gunfire
 
Fenton Police Department, Louisiana
Police Officer Shannon Brown
Fenton Police Department, LA
EOW: Saturday, August 13, 2016
Cause of Death: Struck by vehicle
 
Maryville Police Department, Tennessee
Police Officer Kenneth Ray Moats
Maryville Police Department, TN
EOW: Thursday, August 25, 2016
Cause of Death: Gunfire
 
Navajo Division of Public Safety, Tribal Police
Senior Police Officer Leander Frank
Navajo Division of Public Safety, TR
EOW: Tuesday, August 30, 2016
Cause of Death: Automobile accident
 
Alamogordo Police Department, New Mexico
Police Officer Clint Corvinus
Alamogordo Police Department, NM
EOW: Friday, September 2, 2016
Cause of Death: Gunfire
 
Austin Police Department, Texas
Senior Police Officer Amir Abdul-Khaliq
Austin Police Department, TX
EOW: Sunday, September 4, 2016
Cause of Death: Motorcycle accident
 
Puerto Rico Police Department, Puerto Rico
Lieutenant Waldemar Rivera-Santiago
Puerto Rico Police Department, PR
EOW: Monday, September 5, 2016
Cause of Death: Motorcycle accident
 
Eastland County Sheriff’s Office, Texas
Deputy Sheriff Kenneth Hubert Maltby
Eastland County Sheriff’s Office, TX
EOW: Wednesday, September 7, 2016
Cause of Death: Automobile accident
 
Johnson County Sheriff’s Office, Kansas
Master Deputy Sheriff Brandon Collins
Johnson County Sheriff’s Office, KS
EOW: Sunday, September 11, 2016
Cause of Death: Vehicular assault
 
Shelby Police Department, North Carolina
K9 Officer Timothy James Brackeen
Shelby Police Department, NC
EOW: Monday, September 12, 2016
Cause of Death: Gunfire
 
McCrory Police Department, Arkansas
Police Officer Robert Aaron Barker
McCrory Police Department, AR
EOW: Thursday, September 15, 2016
Cause of Death: Automobile accident
 
Cook County Sheriff’s Police Department, Illinois
Patrol Officer Jason Gallero
Cook County Sheriff’s Police Department, IL
EOW: Thursday, September 15, 2016
Cause of Death: Duty related illness
 
Ohio State Highway Patrol, Ohio
Trooper Kenneth V. Velez
Ohio State Highway Patrol, OH
EOW: Thursday, September 15, 2016
Cause of Death: Struck by vehicle
 
Alabama Department of Corrections, Alabama
Correctional Officer Kenneth Bettis
Alabama Department of Corrections, AL
EOW: Friday, September 16, 2016
Cause of Death: Stabbed
 
Detroit Police Department, Michigan
Sergeant Kenneth Steil
Detroit Police Department, MI
EOW: Saturday, September 17, 2016
Cause of Death: Gunfire
 
Ulster County Sheriff’s Office, New York
Sergeant Kerry Winters
Ulster County Sheriff’s Office, NY
EOW: Thursday, September 22, 2016
Cause of Death: Drowned
 
Puerto Rico Police Department, Puerto Rico
Agent Edwin Pabón-Robles
Puerto Rico Police Department, PR
EOW: Friday, September 23, 2016
Cause of Death: Automobile accident
 
Pennsylvania Department of Corrections, Pennsylvania
Corrections Officer David M. Weaver
Pennsylvania Department of Corrections, PA
EOW: Monday, September 26, 2016
Cause of Death: Fall
 
Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office, North Carolina
Deputy Sheriff John Thomas Isenhour
Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office, NC
EOW: Wednesday, September 28, 2016
Cause of Death: Struck by vehicle
 
Gregg County Sheriff’s Office, Texas
Corporal Robert Eugene Ransom
Gregg County Sheriff’s Office, TX
EOW: Friday, September 30, 2016
Cause of Death: Heart attack
 
Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, California
Sergeant Steve Owen
Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, CA
EOW: Wednesday, October 5, 2016
Cause of Death: Gunfire
 
New York State Police, New York
Investigator Paul R. Stuewer
New York State Police, NY
EOW: Wednesday, October 5, 2016
Cause of Death: 9/11 related illness
 
Puerto Rico Police Department, Puerto Rico
Agent Victor Rosado-Rosa
Puerto Rico Police Department, PR
EOW: Wednesday, October 5, 2016
Cause of Death: Motorcycle accident
 
St. Louis County Police Department, Missouri
Police Officer Blake Curtis Snyder
St. Louis County Police Department, MO
EOW: Thursday, October 6, 2016
Cause of Death: Gunfire
 
Palm Springs Police Department, California
Police Officer Lesley Zerebny
Palm Springs Police Department, CA
EOW: Saturday, October 8, 2016
Cause of Death: Gunfire
 
Palm Springs Police Department, California
Police Officer Jose Gilbert Vega
Palm Springs Police Department, CA
EOW: Saturday, October 8, 2016
Cause of Death: Gunfire
 
Puerto Rico Police Department, Puerto Rico
Sergeant Luis A. Meléndez-Maldonado
Puerto Rico Police Department, PR
EOW: Wednesday, October 12, 2016
Cause of Death: Gunfire
 
Chesapeake Police Department, Ohio
Police Officer Aaron J. Christian
Chesapeake Police Department, OH
EOW: Tuesday, October 18, 2016
Cause of Death: Automobile accident
 
Modoc County Sheriff’s Office, California
Deputy Sheriff Jack Hopkins
Modoc County Sheriff’s Office, CA
EOW: Wednesday, October 19, 2016
Cause of Death: Gunfire
 
Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, California
Sergeant Alfonso Lopez
Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, CA
EOW: Monday, October 24, 2016
Cause of Death: Automobile accident
 
New York State Police, New York
Trooper Timothy P. Pratt
New York State Police, NY
EOW: Wednesday, October 26, 2016
Cause of Death: Struck by vehicle
 
Fairbanks Police Department, Alaska
Sergeant Allen Brandt
Fairbanks Police Department, AK
EOW: Friday, October 28, 2016
Cause of Death: Gunfire
 
Chester Police Department, Illinois
Police Officer James Brockmeyer
Chester Police Department, IL
EOW: Friday, October 28, 2016
Cause of Death: Vehicle pursuit
 
Detroit Police Department, Michigan
Police Officer Myron Jarrett
Detroit Police Department, MI
EOW: Friday, October 28, 2016
Cause of Death: Vehicular assault
 
Rusk County Sheriff’s Office, Wisconsin
Deputy Sheriff Dan Glaze
Rusk County Sheriff’s Office, WI
EOW: Saturday, October 29, 2016
Cause of Death: Gunfire
 
Fresno County Sheriff’s Office, California
Sergeant Rod Lucas
Fresno County Sheriff’s Office, CA
EOW: Monday, October 31, 2016
Cause of Death: Gunfire (Accidental)
 
Taylor County Sheriff’s Office, Florida
Deputy Sheriff Scott Williams
Taylor County Sheriff’s Office, FL
EOW: Monday, October 31, 2016
Cause of Death: Automobile accident
 
Miami Police Department, Florida
Police Officer Jorge Sanchez
Miami Police Department, FL
EOW: Tuesday, November 1, 2016
Cause of Death: Automobile accident
 
Urbandale Police Department, Iowa
Police Officer Justin Scott Martin
Urbandale Police Department, IA
EOW: Wednesday, November 2, 2016
Cause of Death: Gunfire
 
Des Moines Police Department, Iowa
Sergeant Anthony David Beminio
Des Moines Police Department, IA
EOW: Wednesday, November 2, 2016
Cause of Death: Gunfire
 
New York City Police Department, New York
Sergeant Paul Tuozzolo
New York City Police Department, NY
EOW: Friday, November 4, 2016
Cause of Death: Gunfire
 
Peach County Sheriff’s Office, Georgia
Sergeant Patrick Michael Sondron
Peach County Sheriff’s Office, GA
EOW: Sunday, November 6, 2016
Cause of Death: Gunfire
 
West Valley City Police Department, Utah
Police Officer Cody Brotherson
West Valley City Police Department, UT
EOW: Sunday, November 6, 2016
Cause of Death: Vehicular assault
 
Show Low Police Department, Arizona
Police Officer Darrin Reed
Show Low Police Department, AZ
EOW: Tuesday, November 8, 2016
Cause of Death: Gunfire
 
Peach County Sheriff’s Office, Georgia
Deputy Sheriff Daryl Smallwood
Peach County Sheriff’s Office, GA
EOW: Tuesday, November 8, 2016
Cause of Death: Gunfire
 
New Orleans Police Department, Louisiana
Police Officer Jude Williams Lewis
New Orleans Police Department, LA
EOW: Tuesday, November 8, 2016
Cause of Death: Automobile accident
 
Canonsburg Borough Police Department, Pennsylvania
Police Officer Scott Leslie Bashioum
Canonsburg Borough Police Department, PA
EOW: Thursday, November 10, 2016
Cause of Death: Gunfire
 
Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Department, California
Deputy Sheriff Dennis Wallace
Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Department, CA
EOW: Sunday, November 13, 2016
Cause of Death: Gunfire
 
Newton County Sheriff’s Office, Georgia
Deputy Sheriff Justin White
Newton County Sheriff’s Office, GA
EOW: Tuesday, November 15, 2016
Cause of Death: Automobile accident
 
United States Department of Homeland Security – Customs and Border Protection – United States Border Patrol, U.S. Government
Border Patrol Agent David Gomez
United States Department of Homeland Security – Customs and Border Protection – United States Border Patrol, US
EOW: Wednesday, November 16, 2016
Cause of Death: Heart attack
 
South Texas Specialized Crimes and Narcotics Task Force, Texas
Assistant Commander Kenneth Joseph Starrs
South Texas Specialized Crimes and Narcotics Task Force, TX
EOW: Wednesday, November 16, 2016
Cause of Death: Struck by train
 
United States Department of Justice – United States Marshals Service, U.S. Government
Deputy Commander Patrick Thomas Carothers
United States Department of Justice – United States Marshals Service, US
EOW: Friday, November 18, 2016
Cause of Death: Gunfire
 
San Antonio Police Department, Texas
Detective Benjamin Edward Marconi
San Antonio Police Department, TX
EOW: Sunday, November 20, 2016
Cause of Death: Gunfire
 
Nassau County Sheriff’s Office, Florida
Deputy Sheriff Eric James Oliver
Nassau County Sheriff’s Office, FL
EOW: Tuesday, November 22, 2016
Cause of Death: Struck by vehicle
 
Utah Highway Patrol, Utah
Trooper Eric Dale Ellsworth
Utah Highway Patrol, UT
EOW: Tuesday, November 22, 2016
Cause of Death: Struck by vehicle
 
Wayne State University Police Department, Michigan
Police Officer Collin James Rose
Wayne State University Police Department, MI
EOW: Wednesday, November 23, 2016
Cause of Death: Gunfire
 
Colorado State Patrol, Colorado
Trooper Cody James Donahue
Colorado State Patrol, CO
EOW: Friday, November 25, 2016
Cause of Death: Struck by vehicle
 
San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department, California
K9 Jojo
San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department, CA
EOW: Wednesday, January 6, 2016
Cause of Death: Asphyxiation
 
Canton Police Department, Ohio
K9 Jethro
Canton Police Department, OH
EOW: Sunday, January 10, 2016
Cause of Death: Gunfire
 
Norfolk Police Department, Virginia
K9 Krijger
Norfolk Police Department, VA
EOW: Monday, January 11, 2016
Cause of Death: Gunfire
 
Smith County Constable’s Office – Precinct 5, Texas
K9 Ogar
Smith County Constable’s Office – Precinct 5, TX
EOW: Tuesday, January 19, 2016
Cause of Death: Gunfire
 
Twin Rivers Unified School District Police Department, California
K9 Jag
Twin Rivers Unified School District Police Department, CA
EOW: Wednesday, January 20, 2016
Cause of Death: Struck by vehicle
 
Omaha Police Department, Nebraska
K9 Kobus
Omaha Police Department, NE
EOW: Saturday, January 23, 2016
Cause of Death: Gunfire
 
Rutland County Sheriff’s Office, Vermont
K9 Betcha
Rutland County Sheriff’s Office, VT
EOW: Friday, January 29, 2016
Cause of Death: Struck by vehicle
 
Port Authority of Allegheny County Police Department, Pennsylvania
K9 Aren
Port Authority of Allegheny County Police Department, PA
EOW: Sunday, January 31, 2016
Cause of Death: Stabbed
 
Monroe County Sheriff’s Office, Tennessee
K9 Vigor
Monroe County Sheriff’s Office, TN
EOW: Wednesday, March 9, 2016
Cause of Death: Drowned
 
Chelan County Sheriff’s Office, Washington
K9 Reefer
Chelan County Sheriff’s Office, WA
EOW: Wednesday, March 9, 2016
Cause of Death: Struck by vehicle
 
Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, Nevada
K9 Nicky
Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, NV
EOW: Thursday, March 31, 2016
Cause of Death: Gunfire (Accidental)
 
Unified Police Department of Greater Salt Lake, Utah
K9 Aldo
Unified Police Department of Greater Salt Lake, UT
EOW: Wednesday, April 27, 2016
Cause of Death: Gunfire
 
Anaheim Police Department, California
K9 Bruno
Anaheim Police Department, CA
EOW: Wednesday, May 18, 2016
Cause of Death: Gunfire
 
Westchester County Department of Public Safety, New York
K9 Suki
Westchester County Department of Public Safety, NY
EOW: Friday, May 20, 2016
Cause of Death: Heat exhaustion
 
La Salle County Sheriff’s Office, Texas
K9 Ledger
La Salle County Sheriff’s Office, TX
EOW: Sunday, May 29, 2016
Cause of Death: Heat exhaustion
 
Richland Parish Sheriff’s Office, Louisiana
K9 Duke
Richland Parish Sheriff’s Office, LA
EOW: Wednesday, June 1, 2016
Cause of Death: Heat exhaustion
 
San Juan Police Department, Texas
K9 Rex
San Juan Police Department, TX
EOW: Thursday, June 2, 2016
Cause of Death: Heat exhaustion
 
Cherokee County School District Police Department, Georgia
K9 Inca
Cherokee County School District Police Department, GA
EOW: Friday, June 10, 2016
Cause of Death: Heat exhaustion
 
Amarillo Police Department, Texas
K9 Bruno
Amarillo Police Department, TX
EOW: Sunday, June 12, 2016
Cause of Death: Accidental
 
United States Department of Homeland Security – Customs and Border Protection – United States Border Patrol, U.S. Government
K9 Lazer
United States Department of Homeland Security – Customs and Border Protection – United States Border Patrol, US
EOW: Monday, June 20, 2016
Cause of Death: Heat exhaustion
 
Fountain County Sheriff’s Office, Indiana
K9 Tyson
Fountain County Sheriff’s Office, IN
EOW: Monday, June 27, 2016
Cause of Death: Heat exhaustion
 
Long Beach Police Department, California
K9 Credo
Long Beach Police Department, CA
EOW: Tuesday, June 28, 2016
Cause of Death: Gunfire (Accidental)
 
Emmett Police Department, Idaho
K9 Roscoe
Emmett Police Department, ID
EOW: Friday, July 1, 2016
Cause of Death: Automobile accident
 
Pennsylvania Department of Corrections, Pennsylvania
K9 Totti
Pennsylvania Department of Corrections, PA
EOW: Thursday, July 7, 2016
Cause of Death: Heat exhaustion
 
Arlington Police Department, Texas
K9 Mojo
Arlington Police Department, TX
EOW: Tuesday, July 19, 2016
Cause of Death: Heat exhaustion
 
Stephens County Sheriff’s Office, Oklahoma
K9 Bak
Stephens County Sheriff’s Office, OK
EOW: Thursday, August 4, 2016
Cause of Death: Heat exhaustion
 
Kingman Police Department, Arizona
K9 Amigo
Kingman Police Department, AZ
EOW: Saturday, August 20, 2016
Cause of Death: Heat exhaustion
 
California City Police Department, California
K9 Ty Vom Friedrichsfelder Eck
California City Police Department, CA
EOW: Wednesday, September 7, 2016
Cause of Death: Assault
 
Alaska State Troopers, Alaska
K9 Helo
Alaska State Troopers, AK
EOW: Sunday, September 25, 2016
Cause of Death: Gunfire
 
Boise Police Department, Idaho
K9 Jardo
Boise Police Department, ID
EOW: Wednesday, November 16, 2016
Cause of Death: Gunfire
 
K9 Thor
Wethersfield Police Department, CT
EOW: Tuesday, November 22, 2016
Cause of Death: Assault
 
Volusia County Sheriff’s Office, Florida
K9 Forest
Volusia County Sheriff’s Office, FL
EOW: Tuesday, November 22, 2016
Cause of Death: Gunfire
 
K9 Payne
Pembroke Police Department, NC
EOW: Tuesday, November 29, 2016
Cause of Death: Gunfire
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A Horrible Call

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A Horrible Call

by Jonathan Farris, Chief Advocate, Pursuit For Change

It’s a 2016 holiday weekend – Thanksgiving to be exact. And your kids and grandchild will be at your house very soon.

But now it’s an hour after they were supposed to arrive. You’ve called their cell phones, but the calls go straight to voicemail. I wonder where they could be?

For the families of David Lee Bianco and his fiancee Kaylie Meininger and their young daughter, they will scream and cry when they receive ‘the call’ from authorities, telling them their son, their daughter, and their granddaughter are all dead.

The pain is unimaginable. The heartache is unbearable. And the question “WHY?” will be asked over and over and over again.

I wish I could ease their pain, but I cannot. And for these families and their friends, Thanksgiving will forever be a time of sorrow and not celebration.

Over and over and over again this story plays out. Innocent people, simply going about their lives, are killed by someone who decides to flee from law enforcement.

And over and over and over again law enforcement chases. In the case of violent felonies, perhaps there are no other means to catch the perpetrator.

But in the case of non-violent felons, known criminals, or those committing misdemeanor violations such as speeding or an illegal u-turn, there are thousands of pursuits. Some statistics indicate more than 80 percent of police chases are for non-violent actions by the person running.

Are there other means for catching bad guys while not putting citizens at risk? The answer is a resounding YES!

We need more law enforcement agencies to tighten up their pursuit policies – generally limiting chases to all but violent felonies. We need for law enforcement to have significantly more driver training, because unlike weapons training, behind-the-wheel or in-simulator driving simply isn’t practiced enough. And we need law enforcement to begin to use more pursuit reduction technology, allowing them to apprehend criminals without engaging in pursuits that endanger innocent bystanders and the officers themselves. We simply must reduce the thousands and thousands of chases occurring annually.

You may not agree with me, and I get that. But if YOU were the family who received THAT CALL, I suspect your opinion would change.

http://www.post-gazette.com/local/east/2016/11/25/Driver-in-fatal-crash-was-going-more-than-100-mph-officials-say/stories/201611250191?

image from Pittsburg Post-Gazette

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Relationships. Knowledge. Inner Peace

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Nov. 14, 2016

Pursuit For Change Chief Advocate, Jon Farris, will be attending WINx 2016 in Chicago this week. 


During the past few years I’ve been significantly more engaged with the law enforcement community. I have to say that the more time I spend with these professionals, the more I am able to balance my perspective about reducing unnecessary police chases while recognizing the needs and challenges LEOs face getting bad players off the streets.

This year I’ve attended many police training sessions, a national police chief’s conference and this week, WINx 2016 in Chicago. So why do this? Perhaps a blurb from the WINx site may help explain:

  • “W.I.N. is an acronym for life’s most powerful question – What’s Important Now? Why are these three words life’s most powerful question? Because of their simplicity and their diversity. W.I.N. is a guiding principle for leadership, training, planning, decision making, personal growth and life.
  • “X is the ‘X’ Factor; the unknown. The unknown is what exactly you will experience during this one day event that will change your life.”

I’m excited to spend time with a group of dedicated law enforcement professionals and speakers. For me, Pursuit For Change and saving innocent bystander and law enforcement officer lives is critical; perhaps now more than ever (WIN).

These events allow me to continue my life-long journey of learning (knowledge). These events allow me to meet and better understand individuals who lead very different lives than I do (relationships).

And, hopefully, personal and Pursuit For Change activities, such as WINx, can bring me greater inner peace to balance everything that life’s tossed in my direction.

http://www.experiencewinx.com

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10 Birthdays

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10 Birthdays

by Jonathan Farris

I live in a different world than many of you.

For ten years my spouse and I have taken November 2nd as a remembrance day. As a rest day. Generally as a be-by-ourselves day.

Our son Paul should be celebrating his 33rd birthday on November 2nd, but because of a truly unnecessary police pursuit, he celebrates no more. Nor do we. Family and friends help keep his memory alive, but there are no more celebrations. 2016 is the 10th no-celebration birthday.

To those of you who have lost a child, I hope that your memories help you find some inner peace.

For those of you who are able to celebrate special days with your children, give them an extra long hug now and again, because life is much more fragile than you can possibly imagine.

PaulFarris.org

Paul’s birthday 1988

Paul’s birthday 1993, with Scott

Paul’s birthday 1995, with Scott, Dan, Ben,
Matt, Kevin & Chris

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Thank you, Officer

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Saying Thanks

by Jonathan Farris

I’m an advocate. I work to reduce bystander and officer injuries and deaths caused during pursuits. As a result I typically focus on pursuits gone wrong or those I consider to be dangerous or unnecessary.

However, please do not think that I harbor ill will to the law enforcement community. I do not. In fact, it’s just the opposite of that.

Over the past several years I’ve had a chance to work with a number of amazing law enforcement professionals. These folks  are dedicated to saving law enforcement officer (LEO) lives, which in turn will save innocent bystander lives.

Weapons-related incidents and shootings are most often picked up by the media, but in a typical year more officers are injured or killed while in their squad cars. That often happens due to lack of seatbelt usage, driving faster than is reasonably safe, police pursuits of all types, and more.

Even though there are still too many unnecessary pursuits in which innocent bystanders or LEOs are hurt or killed, this represents a minuscule percentage of total miles driven by officers annually.

So let me simply say “THANKS” to law enforcement professionals across the globe. I could not do your jobs; but know I am personally grateful that you can and do.

 

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The Never-Talked-About Costs of Police Chases

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Each day we read about many police chases. A huge number of those are to pursue stolen vehicles. 

Chasing a stolen car or truck ALWAYS puts innocent bystanders at risk of injury or death. At Pursuit For Change we talk about that issue all the time. And as a result, we continue to push for stricter pursuit policies allowing chases for only violent-felony crimes and not for misdemeanors or property-related felonies.

Of course, nearly every time an innocent bystander is hurt or killed, that jurisdiction (city, county or state) can expect to be sued. Often the settlements, after years of litigation expenses, are in the millions of dollars. This is yet another reason to pursue only violent felons who are posing an immediate threat to the public prior to and throughout the chase.

However, very few in law enforcement and the media discuss the monetary and social implications of non-injury pursuits.

Much more often when law enforcement chases a stolen vehicle, the bad guy is apprehended after crashing that stolen car or truck. Well  at least there are no “injuries” other than those of the thief, right? 

 Perhaps that’s not really the case.

Every police chase that results in a crash costs the innocent citizen. Yet this is hardly ever talked about. Think about this following scenario.

A thief steals Ms. Goodperson’s 2008 Chevrolet Impala one night. The next morning, when Ms. Goodperson heads out to work, she’s appalled to find that her car is gone! She calls the police and reports the theft.

Several hours later an officer spots her stolen vehicle, driving at the speed limit down a local street. The officer attempts to pull the vehicle over, but instead of stopping, the bad guy speeds away. The officer makes a decision to engage in a high-speed chase.

In this case, after a dangerous pursuit lasting ten minutes and speeding through intersection after intersection, the thief loses control of the car and crashes into a telephone pole. Luckily, no innocent bystanders are hurt.

Now, if Ms. Goodperson is lucky enough to have auto insurance (comprehensive coverage specifically), then she can report the theft to her insurance company and get a settlement for that theft. 

In our example, this 2008 Chevrolet Impala has a retail market value in the $5,000 to $6,000 range. Assuming the vehicle is indeed totaled during this police chase, then Ms. Goodperson can (hopefully) just pay her deductible and the insurance company will be out several thousand dollars.

But what if Ms. Goodperson is more like so many fine, hard-working folks across the country. She struggles to make her family’s financial ends meet every month. So she is regularly forced to make difficult decisions where every single dollar is spent. 

A few months back, Ms. Goodperson spoke with her insurance agent and decided to save some money and drop comprehensive insurance coverage on her eight year old car. This, too, is a very common scenario in the insurance world. 

Because Ms. Goodperson no longer has comprehensive insurance coverage, she immediately becomes a different type of innocent citizen when her car is stolen and crashed during a police chase. Now all expenses related to the stolen car must be born by the owner. 

What does that mean? Well, Ms. Goodperson is about to get a really bad deal. 

  • She has no insurance to cover the replacement of or repairs for her car.
  • It is very unlikely that the thief has any financial assets, so even if Ms. Goodperson receives a legal judgment against him, she will never recover a nickel.
  • She will also have to pay for the replacement of any damaged or missing belongings that were in the stolen car (these may be covered by her renters or homeowners insurance). 
  • Because her car was “recovered”, she will now need to pay for towing or transport to her home or to a repair shop. (Here is a real-life case where the owner is being forced pay to transport her stolen vehicle from Oklahoma to Minnesota. goo.gl/FWjeMz)
  • Law enforcement is typically not liable for any damages to a pursued vehicle.
  • Between the time Ms. Goodperson’s car is stolen until she is able to repair or replace it, she still needs to get to and from work. Those expenses must ultimately be paid for by the victim.
    • If she is unable to find alternative transportation, then there is a very real possibility that Ms. Goodperson could even lose her job.
The bottom line is that many stolen car police chases end up in crashes costing the victims an immense amount of time and untold aggravation. Plus, the victim and / or an insurance company, will be out thousands and thousands of dollars. Bad deal.
 
We know there are alternatives to chasing stolen vehicles, such as pursuit reduction technology. That seems like a much smarter investment for a city than having to settle a lawsuit from a pursuit gone bad or for adding truly unnecessary expenses to non-injured vehicle theft victims.
 
There are always losers and never winners for these types of pursuits. 
 
Jonathan Farris is chief advocate for Pursuit For Change and also president of Madison-based InsuranceRescue Services. He can be reached at jon@pursuitforchange.org or jon@insurancerescue.com.
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Examine police pursuit policies!

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The author of this insightful Op Ed is my dear friend and supporter, Ellen Deitz Tucker. 

Every similar fatality should make us examine police pursuit policies

Posted Jul 27, 2016
http://www.gastongazette.com/opinion/20160727/every-similar-fatality-should-make-us-examine-police-pursuit-policies

Last Saturday I joined the crowd celebrating Belmont’s dedication of a beautiful riverfront park to the memory of Kevin Loftin, a former mayor who dedicated countless hours to bettering his hometown. As Richard Boyce (another former mayor) said, the city honored Kevin’s unifying vision of a park that would give free riverfront access to all.

But at the very same time, the public safety problem that killed Kevin and my sister Donna was replaying itself nearby. A driver pursued for shoplifting was colliding with an innocent driver on Franklin Boulevard in Gastonia. Those bystanders would need hospital treatment. The fleeing driver’s passenger would die in the crash. I would later read that the fleeing thief would be charged with “misdemeanor homicide.”

The man who struck Kevin’s car got a double charge of second degree murder. When I asked DA Locke Bell why, he said, “First of all, this is personal. I knew Kevin well and served with him on charitable boards.”

Since Donna and Kevin’s deaths, every pursuit-related fatality feels personal to me. Study of the issue has taught me that passengers in fleeing vehicles are seldom counted among the innocents who die in pursuits. Passengers are treated as accomplices, even when they are helpless captives in a car driven by a remorseless madman.

The Kevin I knew would say that the life of the woman who died was worth as much as his own. He’d also say that no human life should be put at risk to catch a fleeing shoplifter. Surveillance video and the license plate number would have enabled police to catch this thief later, after he stopped driving.

Ellen Deitz Tucker

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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

adminNBC 5 Chicago Investigates – Part 2
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Message to Toyota: Police Pursuits Are No Joke

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Opinion Article

Suppose you’re a homeowner who has watched your neighborhood deteriorate since drug dealers moved in. The drug traffic has disturbed your peace, destroyed the lives of friends, and threatened your security.

Then suppose you turn on the TV and see a commercial for a product considered socially responsible: a low water-use toilet. The manufacturer, worried that customers think its flushing power ineffectual, has devised a new “humorous” ad. It depicts a panicked drug dealer reacting to police pounding on his door by running to the bathroom with a bag of cocaine. The camera cuts to police ramming the entry, then back to the dealer, calmly munching corn chips. The ad’s caption: “No Matter the Rush, It’s Gone in One Flush!”

No advertising company would propose such an ad, and no manufacturer would buy it. It would outrage the law-abiding public and law enforcement at all levels.

Yet for months Toyota has run a series of ads that strike both police and the family members of one group of crime victims as just this outrageous. The first spot aired during the Super Bowl.

A group of bank robbers, finding their getaway car has been towed, steal a Prius. They elude police, driving for miles at high speeds. Meanwhile, citizens tweet the thieves’ exploits and hang out banners to cheer them on as they speed by. The chase goes on endlessly, without even near-miss collisions, as if pursuits always unrolled in the sedate manner of the slow-motion chase of O. J. Simpson on highways that had been cleared of most other traffic.

In real life, police pursuits can quickly turn deadly. An FBI study found that about half of all pursuits last less than two minutes, and 70% end within six minutes — usually in a crash. Sometimes the fleeing driver slams into a wall, injuring or killing only himself. But too often he slams into another, innocent driver.

Records kept by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) since 1979 show that about one person a day dies in a pursuit-related crash and that over one-third of those killed are innocent bystanders. The real number of pursuit-related deaths is probably higher.

USA Today investigators who tabulated media-reported pursuits found that the NHTSA undercounted chase-related deaths in 2013 by at least 31%. One reason: accident report forms often don’t ask whether a pursuit preceded a crash.

Researchers for the International Association of Chiefs of Police reported in 2008 that over 91% of vehicular pursuits are triggered by non-violent crimes, and that in over 42% of cases, police pursue for minor traffic violations.

Patrol officers see small infractions as clues to larger crimes — and a suspect’s refusal to stop seems an admission of guilt. It is true that police frequently discover, after the crash, that a suspect was driving a stolen vehicle. But by then the stolen property is irrecoverable.

You can replace a ruined car, but you cannot replace the life of an innocent bystander victim. That’s why the national nonprofit PursuitSAFETY urges law enforcement to pursue only violent felony suspects. It also urges law enforcement to train officers to use safe practices in situations that often trigger pursuits. Another organization, Pursuit For Change, pushes these reforms while promoting new technologies that could help officers apprehend suspects without the dangerous chase.

Both groups have asked Toyota to pull the offensive Prius ads. Toyota has responded with tone-deaf excuses.

Toyota Operations Supervisor Nicole Redd’s response to a letter from PursuitSAFETY volunteer Patti DeAngelis (whose daughter died last September due to a pursuit in San Joaquin County, California) is typical. “We are sorry you did not enjoy our . . . commercial. Our intention was to focus on the typical misconceptions about hybrids . . . in a fun and humorous way.” In other words, “That was a joke! Didn’t you get it?”

The American public doesn’t get it. We regard vehicular flight and pursuit with too much fascination and too little alarm. We thrill to movie depictions of impossible chases. The camera sweeps past fiery crashes and crumpled vehicles, never showing us the human cost. Reckless scofflaws conclude that you can flee police and get away, while the rest of us don’t suspect we could be victims — until it happens to someone we love.

Free-lance writer and editor Ellen Deitz Tucker began advocating reforms to police pursuit policy after her sister and a friend were killed by a fleeing driver in Belmont, NC in 2012.

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Jon Farris op-ed in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch

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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.

Jonathan Farris – Verona, WI

adminJon Farris op-ed in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch
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