“May have been the losing side. Still not convinced it was the wrong one.”

"This report is maybe 12-years-old. Parliament buried it, and it stayed buried till River dug it up. This is what they feared she knew. And they were right to fear because there's a whole universe of folk who are gonna know it, too. They're gonna see it. Somebody has to speak for these people. You all got on this boat for different reasons, but you all come to the same place. So now I'm asking more of you than I have before. Maybe all. Sure as I know anything I know this, they will try again. Maybe on another world, maybe on this very ground swept clean. A year from now, 10, they'll swing back to the belief that they can make people . . . better. And I do not hold to that. So no more running. I aim to misbehave." ~ Captain Malcom Reynolds

Saturday, December 5, 2009


For the second time recently our agency was involved in a pursuit which ended with the offenders dead. Robbery suspects, who were observed committing another, struck one police vehicle & were armed at the time. Can't give more details than that, but that is plenty I would think.

So - debate for all out there - do we continue to allow police pursuits where people die?

Side one would say you already have an idea who these guys are, and find them later - don't risk the lives.

Side two says they have shown they are a danger to society and need to be captured, and they made their own choices.

Discuss, with supporting facts/thoughts...


Gothelittle Rose said...

They are a danger to society and they've made their choices.

I wouldn't be so quick to say that if not for my confidence that U.S. police officers don't go off on a hair-trigger ready to kill anybody who doesn't respond fast enough to "Stop!"

You don't know what they're going to do between the time that you break off the chase and the time that you catch up with them later.

Granted, though, I wouldn't make a blanket statement for all chases. Of course it may be overkill to chase a shoplifting teen to death. But as you said, these guys were repeat offenders and they were armed.

Perhaps the important thing here is to figure out whether the chased person is running because he thinks he'll get away with it, or because he'd rather die than surrender.

Jon said...

Its always been, and should always be the descretion of the officer on the scene or his direct chain of command. There are times when the risk of injury to the civilian, law abiding population is deemed too much at risk, and an officer will back off.

However, as Rose pointed out, one never knows what they might do - and worse the idea that 'we know who they are, we'll get them later' doesn't always come to pass. There are such things as smart criminals. Granted, most of them probably don't get in chases with police - but its not hard to disappear in this country if you *really* want to.

Best catch them now, and reduce the risk to society as a whole. And if they kill themselves running from the cops via traffic accident, or get blown away in a last ditch shoot out...

I for one won't shed a tear.

Captain Tightpants said...

Appreciate the input - pretty much inline with my thoughts on things. I feel this was a good chase, and it's unfortunate the way things ended but their fault, not ours.

KD said...

I'm definitely on Side #2. Re Side #1: Say you know where they are and want to get them "later" ~ who's to say they will actually be where you think, when you think, and they won't do something even MORE stupid/illegal/dangerous before you get them?

lelnet said...

I'm less concerned with the safety of the offenders than the safety of the officers and the innocent bystanders. The virtue of prudence is, shall we say, more respected in some departments than in others.

I'm not inclined to criticize a situation I know nothing about except what was stated here (being a new visitor to this blog, I don't even know where Our Host lives), and even if I were, I'm not going to get all teary-eyed about the deaths of fleeing suspects. They voluntarily assumed that risk when they fled the way they did. (Even if it turned out, on subsequent investigation, that the guys weren't guilty, they still assumed the risk of dying in an accident when they drove away in a reckless manner with the cops chasing them.)

My only concern with chases (and as I said, in this case it's only a hypothetical concern) is the protection of the innocent. I don't and can't know whether that factor received its due attention in this situation, but I've seen others where it didn't, and that gives me pause.

Front Porch Society said...

I say yes, continue with police pursuits.

Who is to say that those individuals will return to their residence? Or even to that same town? What is to stop them from just driving right on out of the area everyone knows them and finding another place to hole up in. People can always change their identity, get a fake ID, and start another "life" in some other town or state.

Why run the risk of letting some murderer or some armed robber go free because you think you will be able to catch them again. There is no guarantee you will find them again or capture them. They have committed dangerous crimes -crimes that hurt, killed, or endangered others.

A few deaths that have occurred during police pursuits should be reason enough to ban them all. If that reasoning was used, then we could reason that cops should no longer wear guns. I mean, sometimes the wrong person gets shot in the line of fire when in a shootout with a suspect or when defending yourself when being shot at.

The same person who reasons that police pursuits should be stopped because they are dangerous would be the same person who reasons that cops shouldn't carry guns either because they are dangerous and someone could die.

And this logic makes no sense.

Plain and simple - Law Enforcement is a dangerous job. Sometimes deaths do occur. Unfortunately, when the bad guy decides to act like a freakin' moron and jeapordize others, this can sometimes occur. But it is not reason enough to stop all police pursuits.

Front Porch Society said...

Hope all that made sense - went 2 days without sleep. Prying open the eyeballs right now.