Police Chases

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At 1:00 A.M. on December 13, 2001 20 year old Winter Park, Florida college student, Sarah Phillips, dropped off a group of her friends after seeing the movie "Ocean's 11". She made it only a few short blocks when Sarah noticed several blue lights in her rearview mirror; a police stop was taking place behind her. Sarah continued down the speed-bumped road only to find several police Stop Sticks were deployed in her lane of travel. When she saw only one police car and no police officer, fear struck her. Less than 30 seconds later she was dead. She was hit from behind by a car that was traveling over 70 MPH. Worse yet, the car that struck her was driven by a by a 17 year old male who didn't want to pull over because he took his parents car without permission. More than 3,000 people have died in crashes during police pursuits in the past decade. Chases, which experts say are the police activity most likely to harm innocent people, have climbed 40% from four years ago. While it is impossible to try to end police chases altogether, it is possible to minimize these dreadful statistics. To do this, I believe that every police department should have ongoing mandatory pursuit training for all their officers, that stricter penalties should be enforced for all drivers who decide to flee, and that every police department adopt a "violent felony only" pursuit policy.

Although the statistics are alarming, a federal study indicated that some of the continued causes of these situations are that, "officers may not be receiving meaningful discipline for problem pursuits" and "training devoted to when or why to pursue appears to be minimal or non existent" A study that was done in 2000, where 436 law enforcement agencies were surveyed, showed that police departments only took limited steps to train their officers in skills and procedures regarding pursuits. It further goes on to say that 60% reported providing even entry level driver training at their academies. Police...
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