Safer Police Chases

May 13, 2014 — 6 Comments

crashLaw Enforcement often gets a bum rap. I assume I’m overly sensitive to this because I’m a volunteer chaplain with our county Sheriff’s Office.

But my feeling is not new, so I don’t think it’s the result of my current chaplaincy duties. I’ve always felt that the media, corrupt lawyers, and certain politicians have sided with criminals at the expense of society.

An example of this is just how quick many are to condemn police whenever there is a high speed chase. While nearly all law enforcement agencies strive to keep these to a minimum, occasionally one of these pursuits will end tragically.

Whenever that occurs, it seems that the police are blamed. And the question that is too seldom asked, remains: Whose fault is it that such massive pieces of metal (i.e. the cars) were impelled down our streets at such dangerous speeds?

It is the fault of the criminals, of course.

Allow me to repeat that. It is the fault of the criminals . . . not the police officers.

The role of law enforcement professionals is to protect the public. All of the individuals in those ranks with whom I have worked (both military and civilian) have believed that. In Mere Christianity, C.S. Lewis wrote:

The State exists simply to promote and to protect the ordinary happiness of human beings in this life. A husband and wife chatting over a fire, a couple of friends having a game of darts in a pub, a man reading a book in his own room or digging in his own garden—that is what the State is there for.

And unless they are helping to increase and prolong and protect such moments, all the laws, parliaments, armies, courts, police, economics, etc., are simply a waste of time.

Overreaction to the potential dangers of police chases has led some jurisdictions to offer criminals get out of jail free cards. These are issued whenever a person desires to escape justice by committing an additional crime—fleeing the police.

As one writer says, “A ‘no pursuit’ policy practically guarantees the suspect gets away.”

But it no longer has to be that way. I recently read about a new invention that allows cops to fire a laser-guided, sticky GPS tag that will allow them to drop their speed and still be able to track the progression of the fleeing criminals.

It’s pretty amazing. You can see a video of how it works here. Although the cost is reasonable, I imagine the expense will still prevent most departments from being able to leverage this new technology.

The StarChase company says their products are available around the globe, so this isn’t simply for Americans. No matter where you live, you may want to contact your local law enforcement agencies to inquire into whether they have considered this invention.

After all, law abiding citizens want criminals captured—especially those who brazenly threaten everyone’s welfare with their highway racing—but we want them arrested safely.

6 responses to Safer Police Chases

  1. 

    This will be abused. I think it would be better to improve the roads, adding more guardrails for children and pullover areas for drivers.

    • 

      I’m sure you’re right, since people find ways to abuse everything. And your ideas are good. I still think this would offer the handful of agencies that will get it, a useful new tool.

  2. 

    While I like the idea of safer car chases, wouldn’t the criminals just dump the tagged cars and run (or commandeer other cars)? On the other hand, I’ve always dreamed of having a way to tag cars of idiot drivers around me—like the ones looking down at their latest text messages. So maybe all cars will someday be equipped with these, and the police could just pull the cars over and ask, “Okay, what did you do to deserve a tag?” Of course, I’m not a perfect driver, either, and so there’s a good chance my car would end up getting tagged, too. ;-)

    • 

      Actually, only fleeing cars would get tagged, and I think the drivers would be oblivious to any slight sound in light of the road noise and their adrenalin. As far as tracking vehicles goes, I think the powers that be on well on their way in that regard. The website for the product actually has an ACLU statement on the validity of these tags… as long as the police don’t use them to track your travels for an extended period of time. Of course, that would need to be tested in court, if it was done.

  3. 

    Still have high speed chases there? Few here or Dallas due to ordinances.(although there’s crashes with chases run through red signals…which is against the law, but some don’t care…). Sometimes there 10-20 law enforcement cars following a criminal running at moderate sensible speeds..Often 18 wheelers block lanes on Freeways. Police can’t shoot out tires either. Puncturing tire strips don’t work too well. It’s very frustrating. News helicopters are a giant assist here…unless there’s trees and there’re a lot of those. (But the trees and building seem to be trying to help the officers as in your picture) Most of the escaping cars here are stolen before or during the crime and abandoned.
    A couple of days ago, two 18 yr olds in a stolen car fled a crime scene, were chased by county law enforcements (who are a bit more active in pursuits). They drove to a large mall parking lot, bailed and ran into the mall. Cops finally were able to take them down and haul them off. Both were probably out on bond in 2-3 hrs.
    Law officers must be feeling a great deal of frustration and feel it’s a futile effort. Police catch them. Courts and lawyers turn them loose back into the community.
    Society only works when people agree to follow the laws – and those that don’t are removed from society.
    Will be interesting to see how the tag use develops. People are understandably wary these days.
    Thanks for the techie update

    • 

      Thank you for the thoughtful and informative comments. You are right about the number of criminals using stolen vehicles they are planning to ditch (or sell) later. No loss to them to bail and run. And then, speaking of “bail” proper… when there is so little consequence to a life of crime, far more people choose what appears to be the easy path. Then, when overcrowding in jails leads to freedom for so-called “nonviolent offenders,” we reinforce the perception that even if they are caught (which is the exception), it’s not that bad.

      In the case of these car chases, telling someone all they have to get a free pass is hit the pedal is sure to elicit that action.

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