!Police In Pursuit RIB by dep13228

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National Institute of Justice                                                                                                             J US T I C E P




 National Institute of Justice
                 R       e      s        e   a      r      c         h       i    n           B      r    i     e     f
Jeremy Travis, Director                                                                                                    May 1997


Issues and Findings                          Police Pursuit: Policies and Training
Discussed in this Brief: Research
on police pursuit issues, particularly       by Geoffrey P. Alpert
policies and training. Data were
gathered through a national survey           The basic dilemma associated with high-       • Surveys of 160 police recruits before
of police agencies; case studies of          speed police pursuit of fleeing suspects is     training and 145 of them after train-
three police departments; and sur-
                                             deciding whether the benefits of potential      ing—as well as selected interviews—
veys and interviews with police of-
                                             apprehension outweigh the risks of en-          in South Carolina and Miami, Florida.
ficers, supervisors, recruits before
and after training, members of the
                                             dangering police officers, the public, and
                                             suspects in the chase. The issues ad-         • Public opinion interviews with 300
public, and jailed suspects who
                                             dressed in a comprehensive National In-         people in Omaha and 255 in Aiken
had attempted to elude police.
                                             stitute of Justice (NIJ) study of police        County.
Key issues: Pursuit driving is a             pursuit echo those discussed in research
dangerous activity that must be                                                            • Interviews with 146 jailed suspects
                                             on police use of deadly force: On the one       who had been involved as drivers in
undertaken with due care, only af-
                                             hand, too many restrictions placed on po-       high-speed chases in Columbia, South
ter an understanding of the spe-
cific risks as well as the need and
                                             lice use of pursuit could place the public      Carolina; Omaha, Nebraska; and Mi-
realistic methods to apprehend a             at risk from dangerous individuals escap-       ami, Florida.
fleeing suspect. Law enforcement             ing apprehension. On the other hand, in-
agencies developing policies may             sufficient controls on police pursuit could   Results of the study indicate that law en-
wish to address this question: For           result in needless accidents and injuries.    forcement personnel and members of the
what offenses and under what                                                               public focused on the severity of the of-
conditions should police risk acci-          Until now research on police pursuits has     fense committed by the suspect when
dents and injuries to pursue fleeing         focused on indepth studies of single agen-    supporting a pursuit. The second most
suspects?                                    cies or studies based on limited data from    important factor was the risk to the public
                                             multiple agencies. The recent comprehen-      (as defined by traffic, road conditions,
Key findings:
                                             sive NIJ study included information from:     and the weather). This Research in Brief
• Most agencies had written poli-                                                          discusses these and other major findings
cies governing pursuit but many
                                             • A national survey of 737 law enforce-
                                               ment agencies, which yielded usable         of this study and their implications for
had been implemented in the
                                               data from 436.                              policy and training issues.
1970s. Of those that had updated
them, most had made them more
restrictive to control risk.
                                             • More than 1,200 pursuits recorded by        Results of the national survey
                                               three police departments: Metro-Dade
• As the severity of the crime in-             (Miami), Florida; Omaha, Nebraska;          A sampling of 800 municipal and county
creases, more law enforcement of-              and Aiken County, South Carolina.           police agencies was selected, consisting
ficers, supported by their                                                                 of 40 percent large agencies and 60 per-
supervisors and public opinion, said         • Surveys of 779 officers and 175 super-      cent smaller jurisdictions (population
they are willing to risk the dangers           visors—as well as selected interviews—      fewer than 100,000). Of the 737 agencies
of pursuit to chase suspects.                  in the above jurisdictions as well as in    contacted, 436 provided usable data, 284
                        continued...           Mesa, Arizona.                              reported that they could not provide the
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Issues and Findings                             necessary information because it had not          garding pursuits. For example, although
                        continued...            been collected, and 17 declined to par-           60 percent of the agencies reported pro-
                                                ticipate.1                                        viding entry-level driving training at their
                                                                                                  academies, the average time devoted to
• Increasing the number of vehicles             Policies. Ninety-one percent of the 436           these skills was estimated at less than 14
involved in police pursuits increased           responding agencies had written policies          hours. Once in service, the amount of ad-
the likelihood of apprehension, but             governing pursuits, but many of them              ditional training offered averaged only
also the chance of accidents, inju-             were implemented in the 1970s. Forty-             slightly more than 3 hours per year and
ries, and property damage.                      eight percent of the agencies reported            focused on the mechanics of defensive
• There is a lack of initial and con-
                                                having modified their pursuit policy within       and/or pursuit driving rather than on is-
tinuing training for law enforce-               the past 2 years, and most of those (87           sues that should be considered when de-
ment on the specific risk factors               percent) noted that modification had made         ciding to continue or terminate pursuits.
and benefits of pursuit driving. The            the policy more restrictive than before.          Respondent agencies may have spent at
survey of police recruits before and                                                              least some time teaching officers how to
after academy training indicates                Although most (89 percent) reported that
                                                routine followups to pursuit incidents            pursue, but training devoted to when—
that such education can have a
                                                were mandated by their agencies, most             or why—to pursue appears to have been
major impact on attitudes.
                                                said they were either informal supervi-           minimal or nonexistent.
These and other study findings in-
                                                sory reviews (33 percent) or incident re-
dicate the need for agencies to de-                                                               Implications of the national survey
                                                ports prepared by pursuing officers (47
velop a clear and understandable
police pursuit policy delineating de-
                                                percent).                                         These findings point to several issues for
partmental requirements within
                                                Data collection. Municipal and larger             consideration by State and local law en-
the context of State laws and the                                                                 forcement agencies:
                                                agencies were more likely than county or
police mission and to create and
implement specific training to sup-             smaller agencies to collect pursuit infor-        • Create and maintain systems to collect
port the policy.                                mation routinely. The majority of the 135           information on pursuit driving. Without
                                                agencies that collected pursuit data rou-           this information, the impact of local
Target audience: State and local                tinely did so voluntarily (fewer than 5             policies on police pursuit cannot be
policymakers, law enforcement su-               percent of the States represented by the
pervisors and officers, criminal jus-
                                                                                                    determined.
                                                survey respondents reported that their
tice trainers, and researchers.
                                                data collection programs were State man-          • Review and update pursuit policies. The
                                                dated). Although this means only 31 per-            fact that most agencies had policies
                                                cent of the respondents had data collection         was favorable, but the quality and di-
                                                programs, 308 agencies (71 percent) were            rection of those policies was question-
                                                able to provide the number of pursuits              able as departments had instituted
                                                their officers had engaged in during 1993.          them as long as 20 years ago, although
                                                                                                    many have updated them recently to
                                                The number of pursuits reported ranged              make them more restrictive.
                                                from none to 870 during the 1-year pe-
                                                riod, with large agencies reporting higher        • Evaluate the need for pursuit-specific
                                                numbers of incidents than small ones.               training. Officers cannot make proper
                                                One-quarter of the responding agencies              and appropriate decisions with minimal
                                                indicated that officers used force to ap-           or no training.
                                                prehend a suspect after a pursuit during
                                                1993.                                             • Support written policies with training
                                                                                                    and supervision. A written policy may
                                                Training. Many departments acknowl-                 mean little if officers are not both care-
                                                edged taking only limited steps to train            fully trained to implement it and held
                                                their officers on skills and procedures re-         accountable for abiding by its provisions.




                                                                         2
                          Research                in      Brief


• Require that officers justify their ac-   occurred on surface streets rather than        escape was found to depend on the
  tions or have a supervisor evaluate       on highways or freeways, and when they         number of police vehicles and police
  the pursuit (afteraction reports).        happened in urban and suburban areas           departments involved in pursuit (in-
  When actions are found to be inap-        rather than in rural areas. The likeli-        creasing the number of vehicles de-
  propriate, officers may not be receiv-    hood of accidents also increased as the        creased the likelihood of escape), the
  ing meaningful discipline for             number of pursuing vehicles increased.         location of the pursuit (fewer suspects
  problem pursuits.                                                                        escaped in business districts than in
                                            The prediction of personal injury re-          residential or rural areas), and the
                                            sulting from a police pursuit depended         time of day (fewer suspects escaped
Results of case studies in three
                                            primarily on four variables in Metro-          during daytime hours than at night).
jurisdictions                               Dade: the greater the number of police
While the national survey provided a        cars the greater the likelihood of injury.     In Omaha, the likelihood of escape
panoramic snapshot of pursuit policies      Involvement of other police agencies           was related to supervisory assistance
and practices, the cases studied pro-       also increased the likelihood of injury.       (the lack of supervisory assistance in-
vided data for indepth analysis. Re-        High-speed chases resulted in more             creased the likelihood of escape), the
searchers reviewed case records of          injuries than low-speed pursuits, and          number of police cars involved in the
more than 1,000 pursuits conducted          chases in residential areas resulted in        chase (pursuits with one police car re-
by Metro-Dade (Miami), Florida, offic-      more injuries than those conducted in          sulted in more escapes than chases
ers between 1990 and 1994; 229 pur-         nonresidential areas.                          with more than one police car), the
suits conducted by officers in Omaha,                                                      speed of the chase (chases conducted
Nebraska, between 1992 and 1994;            In Omaha, pursuit-related property             at higher speeds resulted in more es-
and 17 pursuits conducted in Aiken,         damage occurred in 40 percent of pur-          capes than those at lower speeds), the
South Carolina, between 1993 and            suits. In Omaha also, the pursuits least       location of the pursuit (chases in resi-
1994 (see table 1).                         likely to end in an accident were those        dential areas resulted in more escapes
                                            initiated because of vehicles being            than those in rural areas), and the level
Risk of injuries. Pursuit-related acci-     identified as “suspect.”                       of traffic congestion (chases in light
dents were found to occur more frequently                                                  traffic resulted in more escapes than
when pursuits were conducted for felo-      Apprehension vs. escape. In Metro-
                                            Dade, the likelihood of the suspect’s          those in heavy traffic).
nies than for nonfelonies, when they


 Table 1: Number of, Reasons for, and Results of Police Pursuits
                                                                    Number (Percentage) of Incidents
                                              Metro-Dade                        Omaha,                      Aiken County,
 Reasons for Pursuit                         (Miami) Florida                    Nebraska                    South Carolina
 Traffic violations                               448 (45%)                      112 (51%)                         5 (36%)
 DUI/Reckless driving                                                              8 (4%)                          1 (7%)
 “Suspect” vehicle                                                                 7 (3.5%)                        2 (14%)
 Driver known from previous incident                                               3 (1.5%)
 Felonies                                         344 (35%)                       89 (40%)                         6 (43%)
    Armed robbery                                 117                                                              2
    Vehicular assault                              67
    Aggravated assault                             37
    Stolen vehicles                                37                             36                               3
    Burglary                                       24
    Other felonies                                 62                             53                               1
 Accidents
   Personal injury                                428 (41%)                        31 (14%)                        2 (12%)
   Property damage                                213 (20%)                        91 (40%)                        4 (24%)
 Arrests                                          784 (75%)                      118 (52%)                       14 (82%)




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In Omaha, pursuits initiated for reck-             pursuit policy in 1992, the number of          might rethink the use of police vehicles
less driving or driving under the influ-           pursuits decreased 82 percent the fol-         to block civilian vehicles from entering
ence (DUI) were the most likely to end             lowing year. In 1993 Omaha changed             intersections. The supervisor might be
in an arrest (75 percent), while pursuits          to a more permissive policy, permitting        given the authority to assign cars to
initiated because a vehicle was “suspect”          pursuits for offenses that had previ-          specific locations to travel at reasonable
resulted in the smallest proportion of             ously been prohibited; the following           speeds (i.e., within the speed limit) and
arrests (43 percent). Officers were most           year, the number of pursuits increased         without emergency signals in addition
likely to terminate the pursuit voluntarily        more than 600 percent (see table 2).           to directing primary and secondary units.
when it was initiated for suspect vehicles
(29 percent), and least likely in chases           Implications of other case study find-         Training. Any change in policy re-
initiated for felonies (16 percent).               ings are not as clear. For example, the        quires development of rules and regu-
                                                   data reveal that the more police cars          lations and then training for supervisors
                                                   involved in a pursuit, the more likely a       to enable them to recognize when to
Implications of case studies                       collision will result. However, data also      take the risks of accidents to achieve
Policy. Like the national survey, the              show that the more police cars involved        the desired result of suspects’ appre-
findings from these sites point to simi-           in a pursuit, the more likely an appre-        hension. Similarly, in interjurisdictional
lar implications for policy and training.          hension will be made. One implication          pursuits, officers must know how to as-
In addition, the case study findings al-           could be that in violent felony situations,    sess a situation and make sure that the
low for more specific analyses. For ex-            it may be reasonable to take the risk of       pursuit is within their agency’s policy
ample, although the national survey                causing traffic accidents by increasing        before providing support for other officers.
shows that most of the agencies that               the number of police vehicles in the
had updated policies had made them                 chase in order to improve the likelihood       Police officers’ and
more restrictive, findings from both               of apprehension. Such a policy would           supervisors’ views
Metro-Dade and Omaha show the strong               not endorse the uniform increase of
effects of policy changes. When Metro-             police units involved in a pursuit; in-        Conditions for chases. Police offic-
Dade adopted a “violent felony only”               stead it suggests that policymakers            ers and supervisors in four police de-
                                                                                                  partments (Metro-Dade; Omaha; Aiken
                                                                                                  County, South Carolina; and Mesa,
                                                                                                  Arizona) were asked whether they
 Table 2: Numbers of Police Pursuits Before and After Policy Changes
                                                                                                  would engage in or approve a pursuit
 Jurisdiction           Nature of Policy Change          Before Change       After Change         under low- and high-risk conditions
 Metro-Dade, Florida        more restrictive                   279                 51             (see tables 3 and 4). The major finding
 Omaha, Nebraska            more permissive                     17                122             is that the percentage of all officers
                                                                                                  willing to engage in a pursuit, and of
                                                                                                  all supervisors willing to approve a
 Table 3: When Police Officers Say They Would Engage in Pursuits                                  pursuit, increases as the severity of
                                                               Level of Risk*                     the crime increases. In other words,
 Violation                                               Low                     High             the need to immediately apprehend a
 Traffic Violation                                       43%                     10%              dangerous suspect is the most impor-
 Property Crime: Misdemeanor                             42%                     17%              tant concern for law enforcement per-
 Property Crime: Felony                                  64%                     34%
 Stolen Vehicle                                          65%                     37%              sonnel. Police said that the most
 DUI                                                     70%                     43%              important risk factors to consider dur-
 Violent Felony: No Death                                87%                     80%              ing a pursuit were traffic conditions
 Violent Felony: With Death                              96%                     95%              and weather. Advances in technology
 Officer Shot                                            96%                     95%
                                                                                                  could lead to changes in risk factors
 * Risk was defined by level of traffic congestion, weather conditions, type of road (e.g.,       (see “Technology and Pursuit Driving”).
 whether surface street, highway, or interstate), and area of pursuit (e.g., whether urban,
 rural, or commercial). In filling out the questionnaire, respondents themselves determined
 whether they felt their risk was high or low.




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The fluctuations between and among                 described those more likely to use            training had an effect on altering some
agencies in relation to the type of law            excessive force as “aggressive” or            opinions reported by the recruits. For
violation reveal distinctions that have            “hotheaded.”                                  example, prior to the training course,
implications for policy and training.                                                            77, 79, and 86 percent of recruits at
Although there is widespread agree-              Recruits’ opinions                              each of three locations (St. Petersburg,
ment about officers’ willingness to pur-                                                         South Carolina Highway Patrol, and
sue when a fellow officer has been shot          Similar to the results obtained from the        Metro-Dade) were willing to engage in
or when violent felons have committed            officers and the supervisors, the per-          pursuit for a stolen vehicle under low-
murder, there was wide variation                 centage of recruits who were willing to         risk conditions. After the training, the
within and among agencies regarding              engage in a pursuit increased as the            percentage decreased to 59, 70, and
other situations:                                severity of the crime increased. The            73 percent respectively. At Metro-Dade,
                                                 importance of the risk factors also de-         before training, 100 percent said they
• The more experienced officers in               creased as the seriousness of the of-           would pursue a DUI suspect under
  Omaha and Aiken County were more               fense increased.                                low-risk conditions; after training, 73
  likely to engage in pursuit of misde-                                                          percent said they would. These results
  meanor property crime suspects un-             Data collected from recruit classes
                                                 both before and after training at four          indicate that training programs can be
  der high-risk conditions than their                                                            designed to support policy objectives
  less experienced counterparts.                 locations (see table 5) show that the

• Officers in Mesa, Arizona, with
  more than 5 years of experience were            Table 4: When Supervisors* Say They Would Approve Pursuits
  nearly twice as likely to pursue sus-                                                                        Level of Risk**
  pects of traffic violations under low-          Violation                                              Low                     High
  risk conditions than the less                   Traffic Violation                                      31%                       7%
  experienced officers.                           Property Crime: Misdemeanor                            38%                     13%
                                                  Property Crime: Felony                                 59%                     27%
These findings suggest that some offic-           Stolen Vehicle                                         59%                     23%
ers, especially veterans, may need re-            DUI                                                    71%                     38%
                                                  Violent Felony: No Death                               91%                     77%
training on the dangers of pursuit.               Violent Felony: With Death                             98%                     94%
                                                  Officer Shot                                           97%                     96%
Results of pursuits. The risks of pur-
suits were seen in the officers’ responses         * Supervisors’ responses are from the three largest departments surveyed.
to the results of their efforts (see also         ** For an explanation of risk level, see Table 3 (page 4).
“Sanctions.” page 7) Seventy-three
percent had been involved in at least one
pursuit during the previous 12 months:
                                                           Technology and Pursuit Driving
• Forty percent reported that a pursuit
  in which they were driving the primary
  vehicle resulted in an accident.
                                                      T    he data from this study show that
                                                   a suspect who does not know he or she
                                                                                                 ready can allow law enforcement to
                                                                                                 monitor a fleeing suspect unobtrusively
                                                   is being pursued will drive in a reasonably   and alert ground units when he or she
• Forty-five percent felt physically               safe manner, and suspects who know            stops. The spike belt, a strip of spikes that
  threatened by the suspect in the                 they are being pursued and drive danger-      slowly deflate a vehicle’s tires when run
  pursuit.                                         ously will slow down after the police ter-    over, has been available for several years;
                                                   minate their pursuit.                         nets and barricades are being developed
• Thirty-three percent reported that                                                             to bring vehicles to a stop; and emerging
  from about one-fourth to one-half of             Continued improvements in technology          technology promises remote-control de-
  all pursuits resulted in use of force            to slow or stop a vehicle may reduce risks    vices to allow police to shut down a car’s
  to apprehend the suspect. Slightly               in pursuits. The use of helicopters or        electrical system.
  more than half of the officers                   fixed-wing airplanes, while expensive, al-




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and that jurisdictions could assess           nomic levels for some law violations,          community members who are aware of
whether or not their training programs        no differences were found for serious          the risks and benefits of pursuit.2
are meeting their goals.                      felony offenses.
                                                                                             Suspects’ opinions
                                              Media coverage of pursuit-related is-
Public opinion                                sues may have an effect on public per-         A unique feature of this study was the
Interviews with 555 residents of Aiken        ceptions. In Omaha, the print and              information received from those who
County and Omaha indicate support             electronic media covered pursuit driv-         fled from the police. One hundred
for police in apprehending individuals        ing regularly, with stories that in-           forty-six interviews were conducted in
suspected of violating the law. The           cluded changes in policy, accidents,           jail cells in three cities: Omaha, Mi-
public agreed with law enforcement            injuries, and proposed legislation. In         ami, and Columbia, South Carolina.
personnel that the seriousness of the         Aiken, only minimal coverage was re-
offense increases the need to pursue          ported on a few tragedies. More re-            More than 70 percent of the suspects3
suspects, but the level of risk to the        search is necessary both to determine          said that they would have slowed down
public decreases that need. Although          the relative risks the public is willing       “when I felt safe,” whether the pursuit
some differences in opinion were              to allow for the apprehension of sus-          was on a freeway, on a highway, or in a
found between races and socioeco-             pects and to compare the opinions of           town. The phrase “when I felt safe”


 Table 5: When Recruits Say They Would Engage in Pursuit


 Before Training (T)

                                           Metro-Dade             St. Petersburg,         South Carolina         South Carolina
                                             (Miami)                   Florida            Criminal Justice       Highway Patrol
                                              (N=33)                   (N=31)                  (N=45)                 (N=51)
                                         Low         High         Low         High        Low         High       Low         High
 Offense                                 Risk        Risk         Risk         Risk       Risk        Risk       Risk        Risk
 Traffic Violation                      71%         15%        58%            7%          78%        43%         56%        26%
 Property Crime: Misdemeanor            41%         11%        58%           13%          69%        24%         49%        14%
 Property Crime: Felony                 69%         22%        73%           10%          82%        55%         77%        43%
 Stolen Vehicle                         86%         43%        77%           35%          94%        75%         79%        57%
 DUI                                   100%         68%        81%           57%          98%        96%         93%        84%
 Violent Felony: No Death              100%         86%        87%           76%          89%        81%         91%        88%
 Violent Felony: With Death            100%        100%        97%           90%          96%        96%         95%       100%
 Officer Shot                          100%        100%        97%           97%          96%        98%         95%       100%


 After Training (T2)

                                           Metro-Dade           St. Petersburg,        South Carolina            South Carolina
                                             (Miami)                 Florida           Criminal Justice          Highway Patrol
                                              (N=29)                 (N=30)                 (N=38)                    (N=48)
                                         Low         High      Low          High       Low         High          Low         High
 Offense                                 Risk        Risk      Risk          Risk      Risk        Risk          Risk        Risk
 Traffic Violation                       46%          7%       24%            0%       83%         24%           54%         11%
 Property Crime: Misdemeanor             33%          7%       17%          10%        63%         22%           46%         11%
 Property Crime: Felony                  67%         20%       52%            3%       96%         49%           57%         30%
 Stolen Vehicle                          73%         33%       59%            0%       94%         62%           70%         49%
 DUI                                     73%         52%       57%          10%        93%       100%            84%         73%
 Violent Felony: No Death                79%         57%       90%          70%        96%         83%           84%         69%
 Violent Felony: With Death              97%         84%      100%          97%       100%       100%            97%       100%
 Officer Shot                            94%         94%      100%         100%       100%       100%            92%         97%




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           Sanctions

   T      oday, in many jurisdictions, fleeing
   and eluding a police officer is a minor of-
                                                                     Sanction
                                                                    Incarceration
                                                                                                         Percentage Agreeing
                                                                                                                    90%
   fense, which is often dropped or plea                        6–9 months in jail                                  40%
   bargained. Officers in this study reported
   strong opinions on sanctions for suspects                     1 year in prison                                   53%
   fleeing and eluding the police:


was interpreted by the respondents as                and congestion. A balance of these          A critical component of police training
outdistancing the police by 2.2 blocks               variables indicates that an appropriate     should be an analysis of the specific
on surface streets, 2.3 miles on high-               policy would limit chases to violent        risk factors as well as the benefits of
ways, and 2.5 miles on freeways.                     felons.                                     pursuit driving. This education requires
Fifty-three percent of the suspects re-                                                          careful training in departmental poli-
sponded that they were willing to run                Specific rules and regulations would        cies and the reasoning that underlies
at all costs from the police in a pursuit            guide determination of the balance be-      the more recent, restrained philoso-
and 64 percent believed they would                   tween risks of pursuit and the goal of      phies and policies.
not be caught. However, 71 percent                   apprehension of fleeing suspects. This
said they were concerned with their                  study asked police for their responses to
                                                     high- and low-risk situations. A policy
                                                                                                 Notes
own safety and 62 percent stated that
                                                     would be based on formulating catego-       1. The respondent sample included 149 agen-
they were concerned with the safety of                                                           cies (34 percent) that had 1 to 25 sworn offic-
others while engaged in a chase.                     ries of risk and standards so officers
                                                                                                 ers, 97 agencies (22 percent) that had 26 to
                                                     could make distinctions during the          150 sworn officers, 100 agencies (23 percent)
These data from suspects provide the                 heat of the chase. For example, crimi-      that had 151 to 500 sworn officers, 49 agencies
foundation for an information base                   nal activities could be given a ranking,    (11 percent) with more than 500 sworn officers,
about suspects who run from the police               and risk factors could be scored in cat-    and 41 agencies (10 percent) that did not report
                                                                                                 the number of officers among their personnel. It
and the reasons for their flight.                    egories of high and low. From these         should be noted that the sample respondents
                                                     scales, a chase matrix could be cre-        overrepresent large police departments. For ex-
Conclusion                                           ated that would give officers specific      ample, based on Bureau of Justice Statistics
                                                     standards for decisionmaking and rules      surveys, 79 percent of police departments have
Police pursuit driving remains a con-                for the beginning stages of a pursuit.      25 or fewer sworn officers (vs. 34 percent in
troversial and dangerous activity. For                                                           this sample) and fewer than 1 percent have 500
                                                                                                 or more (vs. 11 percent in this sample).
generations the conventional police                  At the same time, more research is
wisdom was that effective law enforce-               necessary to develop a thorough un-         2. See Picolo, Stephanie, “Attitudes Toward the
ment demanded that officers apprehend                derstanding of the impact of one vari-      Use of Hot Pursuits by the Police.” Master’s
suspects, even at great social costs.                able on another. That is, univariate        thesis, University of Maryland, 1994.
The tragic accidents that have resulted              analyses of factors such as speed or        3. The average age of fleeing suspects in this
from pursuits testify to their danger.               type of vehicle being chased may mask       study was 26.2 years and ranged from 18 to 40.
                                                     the impact of other variables such as       In ethnicity fleeing suspects were 56.8 percent
Policy. The study indicates the im-                  traffic and road conditions or the lack     white, 36.3 percent African American, and 6.8
portance of the perceived severity of                                                            percent Hispanic American. Ninety-four per-
                                                     of training or supervision.                 cent of fleeing suspects were male and 6 per-
the offense committed by the fleeing
                                                                                                 cent were female.
suspect as the major factor in deter-                Training. Although many police of-
mining whether or not police should                  ficers and supervisors recognize the
engage in or continue a chase. There-                inherent dangers of pursuit and are
fore, policy might focus first on the                making efforts to control them, this
type of offense and second on risks to               study reveals a lack of initial and con-
the public, especially traffic patterns              tinuing training on the issues involved.


                                                                           7
Additional references                      National Institute of Justice.” Wash-     Geller, William and Michael Scott,
                                           ington, DC: U.S. Department of            Deadly Force: What We Know. Wash-
Alpert, Geoffrey P., “Police Pursuits:
                                           Justice, 1996.                            ington, DC: PERF, 1992.
Making Policy Decisions.” Paper pre-
sented to the meeting of the Transpor-     Auten, James, An Analysis of Police       Lucadamo, Thomas, “Identifying the
tation Research Board, Washington,         Pursuit Driving Operations. Volume 1      Dimensions of Police Pursuit.”
DC, January 1995.                          & 2. Champaign, IL: Police Training       Master’s thesis, University of Mary-
                                           Institute, 1994.                          land, 1994.
Alpert, Geoffrey P. and Lorie Fridell,
Police Vehicle and Firearms: Instru-       Falcone, David, Edward Wells, and         National Insurance Crime Bureau,
ments of Deadly Force. Prospect            Michael Charles, Police Pursuit in        “Vehicle Theft Rate Study: Metropoli-
Heights, IL: Waveland Press, 1992.         Pursuit of Policy: The Empirical Study,   tan Statistical Areas.” NICB, 1996.
                                           Volume II. Washington, DC: AAA
Alpert, Geoffrey P., Dennis Kenney,
                                           Foundation for Traffic Safety, 1992.
Roger Dunham, William Smith, and
Michael Cosgrove, “Police Pursuit and
the Use of Force. A Final Report to the


                                                                                     Findings and conclusions of the research re-
   This project was supported under        write NCJRS, 1600 Research Boule-         ported here are those of the authors and do not
                                                                                     necessarily reflect the official position or poli-
   NIJ award 93–IJ–CX–0061 from            vard, Rockville, MD 20850; or e-mail      cies of the U.S. Department of Justice.
   the National Institute of Justice to    askncjrs@ncjrs.org; ask for NCJ 164833.
   Geoffrey P. Alpert, Ph.D., Professor
   in the College of Criminal Justice,     Also available is a 60-minute video-
   University of South Carolina. The       tape of Dr. Alpert’s discussion of
   complete report by Geoffrey Alpert,     this research, which was prepared           The National Institute of Justice is a
                                           as part of NIJ’s Research in Progress       component of the Office of Justice
   Dennis Kenney, Roger Dunham,                                                        Programs, which also includes the Bureau
   William Smith, and Michael              series. The tape Police in Pursuit:
                                                                                       of Justice Assistance, Bureau of Justice
   Cosgrove, “Police Pursuit and the       Policy and Practice includes ques-          Statistics, Office of Juvenile Justice and
   Use of Force. A Final Report to the     tions from the audience of research-        Delinquency Prevention, and the Office for
   National Institute of Justice,” is      ers and practitioners. It can also be       Victims of Crime.

   available from the National Crimi-      ordered from NCJRS; ask for NCJ
                                           161836. Costs per tape, including         NCJ 164831
   nal Justice Reference Service (NCJRS)
   through interlibrary loan or for a      postage and handling, are $19 (U.S.)
   copying fee. Call 800–851–3420;         or $24 (Canada and other countries).




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