During the period 1994 to 1998, on an average one law enforcing officer was killed every 11 week, thereby indicating that a small portion of police officials have been suffering due to police chases. The study also showed that one out of 100 chases result in loss of life. (Hill 2002). Research has indicated that deaths take place quite quickly since many people die within the first 2 minutes of pursuit and many other deaths take place before the first 6 minute of chase, showing that there has been loss of lives of people who do not have enough time in order to save their lives.
(Hill 2002) Although people are sympathetic to the police who chase, the people do not support unnecessary or avoidable chases. Many people support the police when the motorists refuse to stop their vehicles leading to the police pursuits. However, in most of the cases due to these pursuits public life has been put to danger. When people’s lives are threatened due to police chases, this has been opposed by many people. Many people believe that chase of motorists leads to the death of large number of people as sometimes the police overreact to the behavior of motorists.
For example, when the police are aware of identity of the law breaker, there is no need to chase such motorists as they can always catch such people. (Hill 2002) The police should be given proper training in order to encourage them to chase criminals only when the latter’s behavior threatens the public. The police pursuits result in the death of the common people, thereby indicating that there is something wrong with the training that the police obtain in their department.
Therefore, there is a need for evaluation and training of the police so that police chase does not lead to the loss of many people’s lives due to the encounter between the law enforcing agencies and law breakers. (Hill 2002) Earlier, the police were not given class room teaching in the methods of chasing and avoiding the death of innocent people. These trainings did not give information to the police regarding the methods of taking appropriate decision while chasing the law breakers.
Many suspects who were jailed mentioned that they bothered about their own safety rather than the safety of innocent people. Therefore, the police should take action to protect the lives of innocent people. (Hill 2002) One important method of protecting people’s lives is by terminating the chase or by backing off because when the criminals realize that police had terminated the chase, they also would slow down their vehicle, thereby avoiding the death of innocent people.
(Hill 2002) For example, when chasing the law breakers for their small offences, the police can resort to no pursuit policy because the activities of such criminals may not harm the society immediately. The police also need to learn the art of decision-making in order to take appropriate decisions as they cannot take quick orders from the administrators. It is true that administrators can introduce changes in the pursuit policy with a view to protect the lives of innocent people.
However, even reforms in pursuit policy may not help because ultimately it is the officers who have to implement the policy of the administration. The police officials can always give various reasons for their decision to chase the criminals. It is not possible for the administrators to exercise too much control on police pursuits as they would be criticized for taking away the police power and thereby assisting the criminals in escaping from crime scenes and protect themselves from police action.
The police need to find proper alternatives to pursuits in order to safeguard the lives of the people as it is the duty of the police to provide service to the public. One alternative is to use new devices such as stop stick or spiked strips which can reduce the air of the suspect’s tires. After arresting the suspect, the police can remove the device in order to facilitate the movement of vehicles used by people. This device is being successfully used by the departments in Cincinnati, Ohio leading to the protection of lives of people.
Another method is to use radars so that the motorists are given the signal of arriving police vehicles. This signal allows the motorists to give way to police vehicles. (Hill 2002) Ultrasonic device is another method of stopping the vehicles of suspects. Ultrasonic and other such devices can be used to stop the electronic system of suspect’s vehicles, which allows the police to arrest the criminals without causing damage to the life of innocent people.
Further scientific investigations can increase the number of options available to the police. By using these alternatives, it is possible to avoid the high risk chase of suspect’s vehicles, and thereby avoid the loss of lives of many innocent people. In some places, police have used helicopters to chase the criminals. For example, the use of helicopters for this purpose can be seen in the cities such as Baltimore, Maryland, Miami, Florida, Philadelphia, and Pennsylvania. (Hill 2002)