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I am a high school English teacher in an urban high school in Oklahoma City. I am a member of the American Federation of Teachers, Local 2309. I am a Democrat, a union activist and a worker for social justice. I also am a Christian (Congregationalist). I play chess and coach our school chess team.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Do We Need High Speed Pursuits?

A week ago Saturday, a member of my church lost his life when a criminal fleeing police ran a red light through the intersection that the car he was riding in just entered. He had justed finished a day of working at the church installing some outdoor lighting.

I believe that we need to take a very hard look at police policy on high speed pursuits in urban areas. Recently, a police officer in our city lost his life engaged in such another high speed pursuit. I am not critical of the police. But I wonder what we gain when we endanger the lives of the innocent in pursuit of the guilty. We would not call it even if someone dropped a bomb on a house that held 2 innocent people just to kill the criminal who is with them. And while I would want police to pursuit a kidnapper who had his victim in his car with them, I think that we need to exercise some discretion about who get pursued and the risks we are willing to take.
We need to have a study done on this matter.

I know one thing. I will never be able to watch a high speed pursuit on televison or at the movies without thinking of my friend.


JJ Glendenning said...

For once I disagree with you. If they are chasing a known felon or someone of great interest I believe that the benefits out weigh the cost. There is a minimal chance the pursuit will go wrong, and a great chance that the subject will commit another crime.

Lynn Green said...

Officers also have the responsibility of protecting the innocent as well as punish the guilty.I agree that if the person pursued represents a danger to the public, the felon ought to be pursued. However, I think that the pursuing officer's decision needs to be approved. The officer can call it in and begin the pursuit. A supervisor can then have the option to call it off if the pursuit. Right now it is simply left to the descretion of the officer.

JJ Glendenning said...

Ok I agree, in some states they do that. Now only one problem I live in Dibble population 280ish, 3 officers, one chief who might not be at hand all the time, you would need a decision in about three minutes max.