“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

Friday, March 26, 2010

Pursuits & prejudgment

We had a pursuit in this area this week which unfortunately resulted in the death of an uninvolved bystander when they were hit by the suspect who was fleeing. The whole event from start to finish was over in less time than it took to type this paragraph, with the bad guy captured, an innocent dead, and lots of public attention. Drugs & guns involved, as is frequently the case, and not too much other information available yet.

The bad side of it is that the usual suspects for the region are up in arms about things - pursuits are dangerous, the police should have just run the plates and magically known that was the driver for later arrest, it was all racially based somehow, etc. Even some of the local politicians and media are weighing in with very accusatory statements before all the facts are even in - just doing their best to make it all look like the fault of police, and that we are somehow out of control cowboys. I also like the contingent that says the whole "oh the police are blaming marijuana just to push their agenda, weed wouldn't have made him do all this."

The good side is that some of the public commentary has been very much in support of the police - sharing the sadness that someone died, but expressing the fact that it is the role society has given us to catch offenders, even when they run. Even some pointing out the double standard we are faced with - if he runs & someone is hurt it's our fault; if we let him go & someone is hurt then why didn't we chase him? I've even been impressed by our Chief's very public statements - he normally doesn't get into these fights, letting the facts support themselves - but he went on record right away pointing out that the bad guy made the decision to run & put people at risk, not us. Well done sir.

Fortunately I'm not involved in it at all - I don't even know more than the public details of the case, but no matter what comes out it will be an ugly mess in the media and community. I'm certainly not judging either way without the facts either - I wasn't there. I've chased & caught, chased & lost, and canceled pursuits when I knew it was too risky for what was going on - and no matter which you choose it's full of "what ifs?"

Just hoping the end result isn't a knee-jerk reaction which limits our ability to keep the bad people locked up.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for posting this one, Sean. A lot of us support you personally and LEOs in general.

Anonymous said...

Our county LE recently had a pursuit where 2 innocent people were injured. One car was on the side of the road and I forget where the other one was, but both were innocent parties. It was completely the fault of the teens who fled from the police. Thankfully no one raised a ruckus about it.

Pursuits are difficult for LE, I'm glad some of the public was able to recognize that.

Be safe.

Anonymous said...

I wish that LEOs never had to pursue bad guys. For that to become reality, though, the bad guys would all have to choose to not flee...so, yeah, it's their fault because they're the ones who made the series of decisions that led up to, and in fact included, the, "I can run from the po-po" idea.

Front Porch Society said...

Pursuits are such a hot topic all across America lately. But what the public fails to understand is, if we let every suspect run from us without pursuing, then all criminals would refuse to stop for the police because they would start to think they could get away with it. Yes, pursuits can sometimes cause injury or death to innocent bystanders - but it is not the fault of the police, it is the fault of the suspect.