Should police give up chases?
In November of last year a man with a warrant for larceny led police on a chase that went on for more than two hours, six towns, and three counties. Hackettstown police chased Erik Johnson for an hour. NJ State Police took over with a helicopter and ground pursuit. A Hackettstown officer finally get Johnson's cell phone number and literally called him and talked him into giving up while the chase was in progress. In this case, no one got hurt.
A year before Deja Farrior-Quinones, 22, was killed when a a driver wouldn't stop for state troopers. The fleeing driver, Chandler Heaviside, crashed into her car at an intersection. The chase started in Trenton's West Ward and continued at high speeds for several miles on two different highways. They had called off the chase just moments before impact. The family filed a lawsuit against the police department.
This year, Anthony Griffin was riding his motorcycle in Jackson when an officer observed him making a right turn through a red light without stopping. The officer activated his lights to pull Griffin over, who increased his speed to 82 mph and ran for just 10 seconds. Barely enough time to even yet think about calling off a chase, the biker lost control and slammed into the driver side door of Eric Larson's Hyundai Elantra. Griffin was killed in the crash. Weeks later, 24 yr. old Eric Larson, father of two young girls and engaged to be married, succumbed to his injuries and also passed away.
Every chase is different. Every case is different. I feel the policies of calling off police chases can be just as dangerous as the chase itself. If the signal has been sent to the bad guy that driving as fast and as recklessly as you can will call off the chase, then that's exactly what they will do. Calling off police chases encourages the fleeing driver to push the envelope even more, in my opinion. Newark now has a policy to not even bother chasing stolen cars unless it was a carjacking. Are you kidding me? Aren't these policies edging towards a lawless society?
I know no one wants to see innocent people injured or killed by being in the wrong place at the wrong time. But just how far are we going to drop our guard and allow known criminals to escape justice? Take our poll below.
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