Police department need rules for pursuits

May 24, 2014 

I am writing in response to your editorial on Monday, "Go slow before starting a chase."

I am a 36-year veteran of law enforcement. At the 2011 International Association of Chiefs of Police Conference in Chicago, I presented a 90-minute program, Police Pursuit Policy and Practice: Risk Versus Reward.

I strongly support your stance on police vehicle pursuits and would like to add responding to calls for service for consideration too.

Apprehending offenders and public safety are basic duties for police officers. Creating a balance between the two can be a difficult decision but public safety should always take priority.

Law enforcement administrators need to have policies, training and discipline to develop a professional culture within their agency. The policies should consider the environment of their community, the abilities and training of their officers, availability and condition of equipment and supervisors' need to enforce the policies.

As an advisory board member of PursuitSAFETY (pursuitsafety.org) a national support organization for victims of police vehicle pursuits, I encourage police chiefs to review their policies. When a death or injury occurs, I hope every chief can say, "I did everything I could to protect the citizens, my family and friends, and my officers."

Rich Schardan

Maryville

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