I want you to take a look at a post the Jackson Police Department put on their Facebook page. It was about a nice car being stolen right out of a woman’s driveway by brazen thieves. But there’s part of this story that ought to grab your attention most.

Yes, the police department did its normal urging of residents to keep their cars locked and not leave fobs inside. But what really stood out to me was this part:

“Newark Police Officers observed the vehicle in their jurisdiction and attempted to stop it. The vehicle failed to stop for the officers and as per the updated New Jersey Attorney General Pursuit Guidelines, they did not pursue it further.

Shortly after that time, the New Jersey State Police advised our agency that the vehicle was observed on Interstate 280 and they were also unable to pursue it when it failed to stop for them.”

Police had them twice and could do nothing about it. Let that sink in.

These guidelines changed at the end of last year and you can bet car thieves are now well aware that when police pull them over for operating a vehicle reported stolen as soon as they hit the gas and refuse to stop there will be no chase. No pursuit. No attempt to stop and arrest a criminal. No justice.

Think about it. Why on earth WOULD they pull over? What’s more, word of these new guidelines is encouraging even more dangerous criminals to steal cars to get away with those crimes. Let’s say a gang member is going to do a payback hit on a rival. Or someone is going to commit an armed robbery.

By stealing a car that they know cannot be traced back to their name, they now also know after the murder or robbery is committed the police, only knowing about the stolen vehicle, will be legally helpless to pursue them in a chase.

Obviously, all this is an effort to spare some innocent third party from being harmed in a high-speed pursuit. But we already had guidelines for that such as taking into consideration time of day and traffic conditions, how many pedestrians are nearby, how recklessly the suspect is driving, weather conditions, etc. Chases that were allowed were still called off all the time.

This new policy guts the authority of the police and figuratively handcuffs them in pursuing certain criminals. Like car thieves. They literally are not allowed to even begin a pursuit the moment the suspect flees.

And suspects don’t flee in an orderly manner. They gun it. They drive recklessly to get away. This policy encourages this type of criminal to always do that. Doesn’t this alone put the public at risk? It’s telling criminals hitting the gas is your get-out-of-jail-free card.

The attorney general who oversaw these changes was Gurbir Grewal, not the newly appointed Matt Platkin. Then-Attorney General Grewal in my opinion is complicit in the rise of auto theft in New Jersey. Platkin is only responsible for not working to reverse the awful policy.

Opinions expressed in the post above are those of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Jeff Deminski only.

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