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Atlanta Police Updates and Reinstates Police Chase Protocols


January 11, 2021

ATLANTA, GA - According to a news report from AJC.COM, 2020 was one of the most violent years in decades, and the Atlanta Police Department has decided to reinstate its former policy on police chases, which was suspended a year ago.*

On December 30, 2020, the Atlanta police were permitted to chase suspects. However, there are some new restrictions. The City of Atlanta contracted the Police Executive Research Forum to begin a complete review of the Atlanta Police Department's policies and training. The Police Executive Research Forum would also provide direction to command and training staff who created the restored "police chase" policy.

According to Atlanta Police Department Interim Chief Rodney Bryant, the police department had added new safety measures that were not included in the old police chase policy that was abandoned last January by then Chief Erika Shields. Bryant stated that the policy is more restricted than before, and after the significant restrictions that were added to the policy, the suspension was removed.

One of the new protocols allows officers to pursue only the suspects who have perpetrated "forcible" felonies such as involuntary manslaughter or murder, and the suspect presents an imminent threat of death or serious injury to the public.  

Another new protocol requires a supervisor to approve a police chase, and a total of three police cruisers may pursue a suspect.  

Law enforcement agencies across the country have been reducing police pursuits over the past several years. About 20% of police departments in the United States only allow police chases when the suspect was involved in a felony offense. Fifty percent of police departments require the police chase to end once the suspect has been identified. 

The Bureau of Justice Statistics conducted a study in 2017 that discovered between 1996 to 2015, more than 7,000 people were killed as a result of police pursuits. Those that lose their lives are not only suspects fleeing arrest, but also many innocent people in traffic who happened to be in the wrong place, at the wrong time. 

Governments and safety advocates all over the world are raising concerns about the number of civilians injured and killed when they are caught in the middle of a police chase. While it is in the best interest of society to capture violent offenders, should police chases be authorized in cases of simple traffic violations? The recent spike in "super speeding" has only exasperated the problem. The California Highway Patrol states that traffic tickets were written for "speeding 100+ mph" has grown by 87% since the beginning of the pandemic. The Georgia Highway Patrol and local law enforcement officers have written hundreds of super speeding tickets in just a few weeks. 

A few days ago, it was reported that a 72-year-old woman was tragically struck and killed in a parking lot by a driver who was traveling at a high rate of speed  The victim was simply walking out of a convenience store when the driver in a large Chevrolet Silverado hit the pedestrian, causing fatal injuries. In Yonkers, New York, four recent high school graduates were tragically killed when a suspect fleeing from police sped into an intersection and crashed into the teens' vehicle. The vehicle the teens were in was split into two.  

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Sources:

https://www.theguardian.com/news/2019/jul/02/deaths-uk-police-pursuits-chases

https://www.ajc.com/news/atlanta-police-seek-to-counter-crime-spike-with-new-chase-policy/LIMLK5DMGFASPIYCTMXGWTSD5A/

https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2020-04-22/tickets-for-drivers-speeding-more-than-100-mph-surges-87-amid-california-shutdown-chp-says

https://dds.georgia.gov/reinstatement-faqs-super-speeder

https://www.ajc.com/news/state--regional-govt--politics/traffic-light-georgia-but-more-drivers-are-topping-100-mph/v2xAa1gWkciNt2QBeAe8HJ/

https://minnesota.cbslocal.com/2021/01/08/state-patrol-speeding-motorist-hits-and-kills-woman-72-who-was-walking-out-of-gas-station/

https://www.nbcnewyork.com/news/local/at-least-two-young-men-die-others-seriously-hurt-in-violent-crash-in-yonkers/2796773/

Category: Auto Accidents

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