Wednesday, January 9, 2008

He's Westbound on Main Street!!!

The best thing in law enforcement is a good old fashioned car chase. I love pursuits. Pursuits can be thrilling and terrifying at the same time. It's like a roller coaster ride, but you're driving the roller coaster.

Some people would like to ban vehicle pursuits. Sure, why not. Don't let the police pursue, and there will be no more pursuit related crashes, right? I certainly can't argue with that logic... can you?

My problem is this. If you don't let me chase the bad guys, why should anyone stop when I try to pull them over? Oh, you say... but we can get their license plate number and meet them at home. Sure. But what if they don't have license plates?

Well, you say... then we get a helicopter to follow them and we get them when they get out of the car. Okay. When was the last time you tried to get a helicopter? Sometimes they're in the right place at the right time, and it's good. Most of the time... not so much.

Alright then, you say... we'll let you pursue for violent felonies, but not for minor traffic violations. Fine. Then why should the guy I'm trying to stop for speeding bother to pull over? Speeding isn't a violent felony. Let me let you in on a little secret here. I wouldn't pursue a speeder anyway. If he ran, I'd chase him until he did something dangerous or stupid, say driving on the wrong side of the freeway or something, but then I'd terminate. You don't have to ban me from chasing him in the first place.

It really spins me out when parts of my job are legislated away. Something happens during a pursuit, and all of a sudden there's a senator who feels the need to ban pursuits. Someone dies after they're exposed to a Taser (notice I didn't say they died BECAUSE of the Taser) and suddenly there's a cry to ban Taser use.

Aside from being one of the most exciting aspects of police work, pursuits are exceedingly rare. In fact, I haven't been involved in a pursuit in over a year. Contrary to popular (read ignorant) belief, we do not run around chasing everything for anything. We have policies regarding pursuits. We don't need legislation on top of that.

Don't try to take my fun away and make my job more difficult at the same time. Oh, and don't tell Admin pursuits are fun.


USAincognito said...

An excellent and well-written post. I not take away our right to pursue a vehicle or to use a taser.

Officer Wright said...

Officers, having fun? That can't happen.

I've never understood the arguments against pursuits.

USAincognito said...

Yeah, funny how civilians think we are supposed to be serious all the time.
I personally enjoy a good pursuit now and then. Gets the adrenaline pumping and sure makes for some great stories up at the precinct! ;)