The How & Why of Police Pursuits

Several weeks ago, an arrestee slipped his handcuffs in front of him, crawled through a prisoner control screen and stole a Blackman-Leoni Township police car.

This escapee led police on a 70-mile-long pursuit down I-94 and US-23 at speeds up to 130 mph when traffic was of medium volume. The chase ended with minor injuries sustained by the suspect and a totaled Blackman-Leoni Township police SUV (Watch the patrol car video at MLive).

My compliments to the troopers, deputies and officers who pursued the alleged meth-cooking escapee. This case however leads many to wonder: When should the police pursue?

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Police pursuits are not the fun friendly competitions depicted in many movies. They are dangerous and fraught with uncertainty. The pursuing officer has plenty of concerns as the chase continues, and the driver’s seat of a police car is a very busy place during a pursuit.

First and foremost, the officer is thinking about public safety. Is this chase worth the risk? Every pursuit will have its own set of circumstances.

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