Police Chase

Most new police officers, including myself when I started couldn't resist getting into a police chase. I mean its one of the reasons we were attracted to police work. On COPS we see it all the time; we're sitting at the edge of our seats as some guy is running from the police. And as soon as the person crashes and the police arrest them, the police are the heros.

But there's a side to a police chase that you as an officer should think about before you even get into one. And that is how you will deal with certain things when they happen. For example, if someone runs a red light at 80 MPH and traffic is busy, will you continue with the police chase?  This is just an example scenario that you should know ahead of time, because once the police chase begins, you'll likely be so focused on the pursuit with things happening so fast that you won't know what to do besides react.

But for the purpose of this article, lets think about some key issues.  For instance, does your department support you in a high speed police chase?  In other words, are they likely to hang you out to dry in the event something goes bad, like someone gets seriously hurt or killed?  My department for example will write you up in the event you merely scratch a cruiser regardless of the reason for the chase.  Pretty pathetic, huh?  But its true.  Does this make me not chase bad guys?  No, but it weighs as a factor as to what's worth it and what's not.

What about the condition of your police vehicle?  Does your department have police packaged vehicles, or are they standard like a lot of departments, simply adding lights and sirens?  Our department doesn't put special brakes or anything like that, so I have to keep that in mind when I'm involved in a police chase.  Am I going to be able stop?  Am I going to crash trying to catch this person?  What about the air in your tires?  What about the tread?  Police chase videos have shown officers crashing, later to find out the air in their tires were low, and/or should have been replaced a long time ago.  These were the reasons for the crash which could have been avoided in the first place.

What about your prosecutor?  Do they support the police?  Next to your own personal safety, this should be high up on your list.  Why?  Because lack of support exists in some areas which could mean criminal charges against you in certain situations.

Believe me, I'm the first to not terminate a police chase, but as the years go by, you start wising up to other factors that most rookie officers never see coming.  The point is, just know ahead of time how you will deal with situations when they come up.  Know what your vehicle can do, and probably most of all, know your own limitations.  Are you a good driver in a police chase?  Have you had good police chase training?  If a guy is doing a 100 MPH to get away, are you good enough of a driver to keep up without killing yourself?  Is it worth it?  Just a few things to think about "before" you get involved.

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