Before chasing the suspect’s vehicle, the police officers are expected to inform the monitor supervisor who is supposed to take objective decision based on the information given by the police officer. However, it may so happen that the reporting police officer can give exaggerated picture in order to obtain permission from the supervisor to chase the vehicles. Therefore, it is not possible for even the superior officers to take objective decision. In reality, the decision to chase or not lies with the chasing police officers as only they are aware of the complete situation.
This shows the weakness in the police pursuit policy. (Buhrmaster 2006) There is a need to subject the police decisions to proper scrutiny so that they can use this power selectively. However, some police officers like Salt Lake City Sheriff have followed a policy of no pursuit. This policy has been criticized by other police officers because they feel that this would result in increase in the criminal activities in such places since criminals do not have any fear of being chased. Police claim that their main aim is to protect the people by catching the criminals.
However, the police have accepted that there is a need to reduce pursuits in the areas near the public places and schools so that innocent people are not killed due to these pursuits. (Buhrmaster 2006) The police officers have suggested that instead of blaming the police for the death of the innocent people due to police pursuits, the public needs to blame the criminals and the law, which allows the criminals to repeat their crimes. The police officers insist that they would continue to follow the pursue policy as it is their duty to control the criminal activities.
They put the blame on the law and the administration for the death of many people due to police chases. (Buhrmaster 2006) However, this should not allow the police to escape from the responsibility of protecting the lives of the innocent people. The police can protect the lives of the people by terminating their chases. Police officers need to adopt restrictive pursuit policy, which refers to chasing only the dangerous criminals instead of chasing people for their traffic violations and such other minor offences.
Police pursuit has become an important controversial issue as different groups who have participated in this debate have presented their own view points backed by evidences. The media has given too much attention obviously to attract increased number of TV consumers, resulting in the obsession of the media for pursuit crashes. However, recently many people have begun to scrutinize the need for such high-speed chases leading to the death of innocent civilians. The people are asking the officials to find alternatives to nab the culprits.
This shows that police pursuits have become unpopular among the people particularly due to the fact that these events are highlighted in the media. These problems have inspired the police officers to change their policies pertaining to criminals. (Thompson 2005) While some agencies are analyzing the methods of maintaining the balance between policing and protecting lives of the people who suffer due to police chases, there are others which have followed zero pursuit policy.
Some police officials, who participated in high speed chases, have begun to question such chases in order to capture law breakers who committed minor offences. Some police agencies have introduced restrictive pursuit policies, which have curtailed the freedom of the police officers to chase each and every law breaker. (Thompson 2005) The police officers are in the best position to judge the need for dangerous chases as they put their own life and also people’s lives in danger. Many police officers have died due to their attempt to capture the criminals. It is true that nobody flees without any reason.
However, most of the times people run away as they commit offences such as running away from outstanding warrants, being in stolen vehicle, being intoxicated, or possessing narcotics. Drivers who drive under the influence of alcohol can harm the life of the people as they are not able to control themselves. When the police chase such people, drivers can harm innocent people. There are many reported cases wherein drivers under alcoholic influence have been responsible for the killing of innocent bystanders and other people who were not at all related to criminal action. (Thompson 2005)