In the last ten days two high speed police vehicle chases have resulted in major traffic crashes with serious injuries in St. Petersburg and Gulfport, Florida. These accidents would have been avoided if the police were using reasonable criteria with a touch of common sense in determining when engaging fleeing vehicles in uncontrolled chases is a good idea. In the St. Petersburg case the suspects were believed to have engaged in a burglary, something their St. Petersburg Defense Lawyers can worry about defending later.
|Police Chase: Cat and Mouse|
These accidents call into question the St. Petersburg Police Department’s competence as its response to criticism in the press was that if folks in a fleeing and eluding vehicle are believed to have committed a felony, then the police are permitted to further endanger public safety by engaging in a high speed chase. This rule does not protect the public by failing to take into account the most important role of the police which should be to not just protect the public from crime, but to protect the safety of the public, especially from police actions that could injure people, such as these type of high speed chases for crimes where no one’s safety would otherwise be at risk. Often chases are initiated because police can’t resist the cat and mouse aspect of the chase when made privy to a crime. In other words the police are being as stupid as the Defendants.
The question of what type of criminal act or mere suspicion of crime should give rise to high speed police chases shouldn’t require Clearwater Criminal Defense Attorneys, but only the following common sense rule: if the threat of harm from a crime endangers the public more than the chase (such as in a shooting spree), then conduct a chase; otherwise don’t.