Last month, John Phillips, President of PursuitWatch.org appeared on Countdown with Keith Olbermann on MSNBC. Below are responses from concerned citizens around the nation.
I have been a police officer with a California agency for over 30 years. I
support what you are doing. My agency and most California police agencies have very strict
dos and do nots for pursuit.
Dear Mr. Phillips -
I am a law-enforcement major at Unity College in Maine pursuing a career in state police and homeland security in the state of Maine. I watched your show today about making safer policy on pursuits. I know this site and show in no way is bashing police officers in any manner, but it does bother me in a way that a safer policy should be made to pursue a criminal in a high speed chase. The United States of America define the P.I.T Maneuver as precision immobilization technique. This allows the pursuit to come to a halt so no more civilian, police and criminal life is threatened. I know your site knows what this means and I'm in no way preaching to you what it means or teaching anyone anything. I'm just reflecting my thoughts on the manner.
I know various chases are of extreme matters from start to end, but some start out small and end big. For example; a 18 year old teenager could of stole a purse and jumped in a truck to get away, but if an officer of the law goes by policy to pull that individual over and that individual does not pull over that is failure to stop and is now considered evading the police. Now we have a chase all because that individual failed to stop. The chase is now endangering the public, the police, and themselves the chase needs to end fast swift without injury or fatality. Not all the time this can be accomplished, due to the fact that the individual gets hurt by themselves or by police. A chase can only gone on so long before it needs to end, if the p.i.t maneuver is initiated fast and swift with precision I dont understand the problem. Yes! sometimes the individual gets hurt that was their choice to begin with if they decided to break the law. Officers don't mean or intentionally hurt the individual but their job is to serve and protect the public and the criminal, so if that means using that technique to get them off the road I feel it's required.
I'm not saying that everything officers do in this country is right and theyre some officers who don't follow their policy, but to say their needs to be a safer way to go about this? How? You can't just allow a chase to go on for hours on end because that's endangering the public and the police. Maybe I'm reading to much into this and I'm in no way starting an argument I just don't understand how you can make a chase stop without that technique and I know America will never spend billions of dollars for a special electrical gun to immobilize the car and stop it in its tracks with out any physical alteration between police public and the criminal. Basically the P.I.T. is required.
John Phillips' Response:
I found your email very interesting and informational. The P.I.T. maneuver is an
important police tool that can be used if necessary and potentially stop a pursuit before
it comes to a deadly end. This we can agree with.
Just finished watching the segment on MSNBC and I am very happy that someone else is as
passionate about high speed chases like I am. I live in Northwest Indiana, about 20
minutes outside of Chicago and our area has had the misfortune of experiencing several
fatalities due to high speed chases. One chase involved a drunk driver that was chased at
100 miles per hour for forty-five minutes on Thanksgiving morning by the Valparaiso
Indiana police department!!!!!! Luckily no one was injured but think of what could have
happened. I immediately wrote to our local newspaper and faced some opposition from
friends in the law enforcement community. High speed chases are bad enough but why would
you even consider encouraging a drunk to take off and flee at that speed for that length