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The Art of the Chase: Vehicle Pursuits

The Art of the Chase: Vehicle Pursuits

Sergeant George M. Godoy

A vehicle pursuit study, covering 800 municipal and county agencies, indicated that two factors were likely to determine support for a vehicle pursuit:

1. The severity of the offense committed by the suspect

2. The risk to the public (traffic, road, and weather conditions)

When an officer initiates a vehicle pursuit, dispatch should be immediately notified of:

  • Unit Identification
  • Location, Direction of Travel, Indication of Speed
  • Reason for the Pursuit
  • Suspect Vehicle Description and Plate Number – if known
  • Number of Occupants and Description – if known

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It is important for the officer in pursuit to ensure the dispatcher and backup officers hear and understand radio transmissions. Roll up windows and give regular location updates.

When a pursuit involves excessive emergency speed and emergency driving tactics, the pursuing officer must consider:

  • The severity and nature of the violation
  • The likelihood of apprehending the suspect
  • The public safety hazards created by a high-speed pursuit
  • The traffic encountered during the pursuit – volume, speed, direction
  • The pursuit environment: residential, commercial, school zone, open highway
  • The population density
  • The familiarity with the roads being traveled
  • The weather and road conditions
  • The driving skill of the officer and condition of the police vehicle being driven

Every police officer must be able to determine when a vehicle pursuit should not be initiated and when to break off a pursuit.

Some common sense guidelines include:

Pursuit would create a clear and unreasonable danger to the officer, the pursued vehicle or other users of the highway. The degree of danger and risk to public safety should outweigh the need for immediate apprehension. The suspect has been identified and apprehension can be accomplished later without the danger of pursuit.

  • Avatar_max160_max160_max50


    almost 5 years ago


    What? No new articles?

  • Mustang1_max50


    almost 6 years ago


    Very Informative.. Well maintained Police vehicles and experienced drivers is a requisite

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    almost 6 years ago


    Good info and Officer Safety training

  • Mourning_star_max50


    almost 6 years ago


    Hey bad guys...If you don't feel like stopping when we try and pull you over...DON'T! Just keep on driving. Heck do what ever you want! And if we still stick behind you, with our annoying lights and sirens, just drive faster and more reckless, because it's the initial reason for the stop that counts. Right? Drive the wrong way on a highway at 20+over the speed limit? That's not dangerous, we don't need to stop you. It's not like you were pointing a gun at anyone. It's not like you're a hazard to the public, and could kill someone with your reckless disregard for life, safety, and the concerns of others. Oh yeah, and last but not least, it's OUR fault you are running, because you wouldn't be running if we weren't chasing you. By the way, did I mention that we caught a homicide suspect, (convicted) for a head light out on a traffic stop? Can I also mention that he had left the scene of one killing of a family member with an axe, and was on the way to another family members house with said axe? He didn't run, but what if he did? According to this, we should have let him go because it was only a headlight, right? Someone would have died. The true deterent to these pursuits is to make it so hanous a crime, that you get thrown under the jail, not the misdomeanor it is now. Even now that we have a felony pursuit charge, it still doesn't have teeth. You should be able to articulate attempted murder when someone purposely drives at excessive speeds, and/or are reckless on purpose in order to get officers to break off the pursuit. Ask yourself this...if a man was walking down the street with a gun and was pointing it at people, what would you're reaction, and use of force be? How is that different than a one ton vehicle at 30 or 40 miles or more over the speed limit? The vehicle is being used as a weapon.

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    almost 6 years ago

    Where's the Art part?

  • Photo_user_banned_big


    almost 6 years ago


    i thought this was a decent intro to someone that might face these types of questions on his/her police exam. should give them a good idea of what to answers to pick.

  • Usmcrlee_max50


    almost 6 years ago


    The title of the article and the brief description were completly misleading. I wound up skimming through the pages trying to find something worth reading. I'll print this off and read it to my kids to put them to sleep at night....

  • Blue_hills_max50


    almost 6 years ago


    Remember... it's the suspect who initiates the pursuit, not the officer. The suspect sets the event into motion when they choose to ignoire our lights/siren and elude us. Thank you for reminding everyone that we MUST always operate our vehcles with due regard for public safety. Times have changed folks, we have to be much smarter about the way we drive and who/when we pursue. Go home safe to your family! Don't get tied up in unnecessary litigation or better yet DIE froma wreck because you just had to chase the stop sign runner at high speeds. Be smart and be safe. Cornman, OCPD LEDT

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