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String of Chases Highlights Evolving Police Pursuit Policies

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Police car chasing the offender on the road with flashing lights. | Image by Aleksandr_Kuzmin, Shutterstock

A string of car chases involving drivers in the Dallas-Fort Worth area fleeing law enforcement raises the question: “What are police officers thinking when they find themselves engaged in hot pursuit on Dallas roadways?”

One of the most recent such incidents was the chase that led to the death of Grand Prairie police officer Brandon Tsai, as previously reported by The Dallas Express.

NBC DFW reported that there had been plenty of recent examples of police chases. For example, as recently as earlier this week, two teens in Fort Worth were killed in a rollover after a road rage incident led to a chase.

Last week, a wrong-way chase in Dallas County saw suspects weaving through traffic and stopping briefly to enter a different stolen car before resuming the getaway attempt.

Finally, at the beginning of the month, two men were arrested in a chase that led through several different cities. Once again, the men switched cars, but with a baby, and finally ran into a preschool.

These examples showcase that individual law enforcement departments guide officers on how to deal with police chases, Matt Clem, deputy director for the Institute for Law Enforcement Administration, told NBC DFW.

“Officers go through a two-factor process of weighing the need for public safety and the need for justice,” Clem said. “What I will say is that most policies do a great job of addressing both of those needs while also understanding that they have to allow officers time to address and learn what the situation is.”

Traffic stops are particularly dangerous for officers, Clem said, because they do not necessarily know who is driving.

“First of all, officers do not initiate pursuits; violators initiate purists,” the deputy director reminded.

“I think what most people fail to understand is that when weighing those benefits or those risk factors, the decision on those traffic stops is that Timothy McVeigh was stopped on a traffic stop,” Clem said. “He was apprehended following the atrocious bombing in Oklahoma City on a traffic stop.”

Clem, who worked in North Richland Hills with a police captain who was shot by a bank robbery suspect 20 years ago, said that an officer would not know at the time whether he was stopping someone who might be a bank robber.

“They think they’re being pulled over because we know they just robbed a bank, which wasn’t the case,” Clem explained. “They’re being pulled over for the fictitious license plate.”

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LoWa
LoWa
2 months ago

There needs to be a way to disable vehicles and lick the doors to prevent endangering the public and law enforcement officers. More importantly, personal responsibility and duty needs to be stressed on our people, as well as moral behavior.

Pops77
Pops77
Reply to  LoWa
2 months ago

Good idea on the surface but imagine if criminals obtain that technology. How would you like a criminal to be able to disable your vehicle and lock the doors until they pulled up on you.

Tommy
Tommy
2 months ago

No way to stop this even if running and pursuit had a HIGHER standard the criminal will still do it.

Michael
Michael
2 months ago

If you start putting limits on when officers may engage in a vehicle pursuit, the bad guys will simply use that to their advantage. In the 1980’s Dallas Police would pursue vehicles for any violation of the law – now a vehicle pursuit is allowed under the department’s General Orders only if the suspect is known to have committed, or is committing, a violent felony. So what happens when officers attempt to stop a car that has been stolen (NOT carjacked)? The suspect flees, knowing that officers are not allowed to pursue, because theft of a car is not a violent felony – the suspects use the officers’ own policies against them, and get away.

David
David
2 months ago

Our WOKE society has given criminals a pass. Until these people in power are held accountable for their WOKE policies this will only get worse. This is Exactly why folks Move to the suburbs. Because law enforcement actually is allowed to Enforce the laws.

Robert Weir
Robert Weir
2 months ago

If criminals realize that cops won’t pursue them when they flee in a car, crimes will multiply to a level never seen before. So, will stolen car crimes.