An analysis from USA Today on police chases across America finds that the deaths and injuries caused by these hot pursuits disproportionately outweigh the good they do.
The paper found that police chases have killed more than 5,000 passengers and bystanders since 1979, accounting for nearly half of all chase-related casualties. Many of these pursuits began as minor infractions—typically traffic stops or misdemeanors—throwing into question whether this longstanding police practice is really worth the tradeoff.
Police departments across the country have responded by instituting policy on police pursuits to codify the circumstances under which an officer can engage in a pursuit.
What policy regarding police chases do the Los Angeles Police Department and the California Highway Patrol have? What can be done to minimize the negative consequences of these pursuits?
Esther Seoanes, executive director of PursuitSAFETY, a nonprofit seeking to reduce chase-related deaths. Her husband, James Williford, was killed by the driver of a stolen vehicle being chased by police in Austin, Texas, in 2012