It is the duty of the nation's police forces to protect and to serve the American public. Police officers save thousands of lives every year through extreme acts of heroism, bravery and courage. The majority of private citizens are grateful for their city's police force. Unfortunately, the families of the hundreds of innocent civilians killed every year during high-speed police chases have a different view toward law enforcement and are fighting an uphill battle to change the dangerous tactics that many officers use when attempting to make an arrest.
Make no mistake, it is the fault of the fleeing criminal for every innocent bystander's death during a police chase. The controversy lies in when the dangers of arresting a criminal in a high speed police pursuit outweigh the safety of innocent civilians. In April 2007, the Supreme Court handed down an 8-1 decision allowing police officers to implement a "Precision Intervention Technique" to stop a fleeing suspect in a high speed chase. In this case, the officer forced the suspect's car down an embankment and the suspect was rendered a quadriplegic.
Recognizing that the police actions in the chase could easily have killed the fleeing suspect, the Court pointed out that the suspect made the choice to flee and place the public in harm's way. In contrasting potential innocent victims of the suspect with the suspect's injuries, the Court concluded that the police actions were reasonable.
Dozens of civil lawsuits alleging improper police chase tactics have been filed against numerous departments and cities across the country. State advocacy groups are calling for enhanced training programs for officers as well as standardized chase policies for departments nationwide.
If you or a family member suffered injuries during a high-speed police chase, it may be important to contact an attorney
who can help you protect your legal rights. Please keep in mind that there may be time limits
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