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After an increase in fatalities, a new report advises restricting police pursuits to violent crimes

By 09/19/2023 9:53 PMNo CommentsBy YidInfo Staff


A new report urges police to refrain from beginning a pursuit unless a violent crime has been committed and the suspect poses an immediate threat in an effort to reduce the hundreds of deaths brought on by police chases in the United States each year.

The Police Executive Research Forum, a national think tank on policing standards, published the study on Tuesday in response to criticism of several police departments for using pursuits more frequently, including in Houston and New York City.

The study follows a spike in fatalities from police chases during the pandemic. Police chases should be uncommon, according to the report created by a group of specialists and law enforcement executives. It is noted that the risk to suspects, cops, and onlookers frequently surpasses the immediate necessity to apprehend someone.

According to Chuck Wexler, executive director of PERF, “a lot of this has to do with the new thinking in policing today, which is about proportionality.” The sanctity of life and balancing the risk for everyone are at stake. In pursuit, police officers perish.

Suspects perish during pursuits, and even bystanders may suffer harm or pass away. There are no national guidelines for when police pursuits are permitted, according to Wexler, and he believes the research will help departments update or establish clear procedures.

He claimed that there are instances in which police must pursue a suspect, and the paper details how to design procedures to support that as well as when to end pursuits.

The U.S. supported the research. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Department of Justice Office of Community Oriented Policing Services highlighted NHTSA statistics showing fatal crashes involving a police pursuit peaked at 455 in 2020, the highest since at least 2007 when there were 372 fatalities.


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