When a suspect attempts to flee from the police should the officers pursue? Most people will instinctively say they should. But one has to ask whether it’s more dangerous for the police to enter into a high-speed chase with a suspect or allow the suspect to flee. Oftentimes in the zealous pursuit of suspects the police end up putting a lot of lives in danger:
More than 5,000 bystanders and passengers have been killed in police car chases since 1979, and tens of thousands more were injured as officers repeatedly pursued drivers at high speeds and in hazardous conditions, often for minor infractions, a USA TODAY analysis shows.
The bystanders and the passengers in chased cars account for nearly half of all people killed in police pursuits from 1979 through 2013, USA TODAY found. Most bystanders were killed in their own cars by a fleeing driver.
Police across the USA chase tens of thousands of people each year — usually for traffic violations or misdemeanors — often causing drivers to speed away recklessly. Recent cases show the danger of the longstanding police practice of chasing minor offenders.
5,000 people killed primarily in the pursuit of revenue from traffic violations and misdemeanors. This is especially ridiculous when you consider that ever car has a government mandated unique identifiable number bolted to the vehicle. An officer could just call in the make, model, and license plate number and wait for a safer time to deliver the citations.
Whenever somebody argues that the police do something to keep us safe we must ask whether the tactics being used by the police are more dangerous than whatever they’re supposedly combatting. Is heroine really more dangerous than no-knock raids leading to dead pets or family members? Are people who exceed the arbitrarily posted speed limit really more dangerous than having a police car with bright flashing lights on the side of the road causing chaos on the highway? If the tactics are more dangerous than the activity being policed then the police aren’t keeping anybody safe, they’re needlessly putting them in danger.