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Deadly Police Pursuit Essay



In the United States, the number of innocent bystanders that have died or suffered injuries in the course of high-speed police car chases continues to increase at an alarming rate. In the year 2010, specifically in Milwaukee, the policy chief introduced a new policy indicating that the police force was not to engage in these violent and high-speed chases if the crime of the suspect did not justify the loss of the lives of innocent bystanders (McCrady, & Sorgi, 2010, p. 5). On the face of it, that proposition sounds ludicrous because it insinuates that the issue of losing bystanders’ lives as a collateral damage to a car chase gone sour is acceptable at times. Consequently, the various stakeholders had an opportunity to give their opinions on the matter. Understandably, most of the law enforcement agency personnel felt that this was an unwise move. In fact, by installing that exceptional status of the crimes that were fit for car chases, the message that was being convened to the public at large and specifically to the world of crime was worth addressing. The message was that criminals could get away with misdemeanours and other lesser felonies so long as the risk associated with initiating a car chase was equivalent to the loss of civilians’ lives.

Main body

I lost a brother in a car chase in 2011. He was simply walking back home from college. The suspect that was being pursued was suspected of the misdemeanors of drug handling and theft. My brother was only 19 years old. He already had his undergraduate degree. He was waiting for Stanford University’s response to an application for his scholarship, which was ironically granted on the day he passed on. His loss has severally wounded my family and disillusioned my mother. This incident continues to plague us two years down the line. Worse still, the fact that he was killed by police who were in the line of duty is some sort of acceptable collateral status to the authorities. Therefore, they did not dwell much on the incident other than to provide the family with meager compensation and condolence message from people who are high up in the ranks. In my neighborhood, four other families have similar stories.

One is that of the parents of a 44-year-old church leader who was hit by a fleeing motorist in 2010 during another car chase. He had been serving the fellow shoppers around him for two decades. He left behind many responsibilities that have since gone unfulfilled such as providing cheap food to the elderly and mentorship to the youth to have them abstain from criminal activities. Other innocent victims include a 72-year-old man in Lynnwood and a 42-year-old mother and nurse in the same location. To the affected families, it is often difficult to come to grips with the more saddening fact that the suspect being chased down survived (Clarridge, 2013, p. 1). Moreover, the police in effect go ahead and charge such said suspects with a first-degree murder, which again depends on the prosecution’s ability to prove a keen disregard for human life by the motorist during the collision. What good does that do to the families? Their loved ones are already gone.

A gap is apparent in this matter concerning the accountability of the police force upon the occurrence of such deaths or injuries. Statistical findings indicate that, in the past decade alone, California, which has been dubbed by several research results as the world’s “police chase capital”, had 10000 injuries and 300 deaths resulting from police chases gone awry (The Seattle Personal Injury Attorney, 2013). The FBI Law enforcement bulletin offers even more sobering alerts to this conundrum. According to o the law, the majority of the car chases are aimed at apprehending traffic violators. Each day, at least one person dies in police car chases, and that the percentage of injured or killed innocent bystanders in such chases totals to 42 percent of all the persons that are killed or injured. In fact, out of every 100 police high-speed car chases, at least one shall culminate in a fatality (The Seattle Personal Injury Attorney, 2013).


Surely, these figures ought to inspire some sort of preventive or proactive reaction from policymakers and other stakeholders and specifically the law enforcement agencies. Unfortunately, this does not seem to be a matter that is worthy of such high-ranking attention as no legislation has been passed towards the issue on a federal level. Most states are also reluctant to standardize procedure on the matter. The burden of its weight is borne by respective police officers in charge of stations and units. Most of these have reacted by introducing restrictive policies that require an officer to judge between the magnitude of the suspected crime and the risk involved. However, this kind of general direction is inherently flawed. The adrenaline rush experienced by the police officer at the crime scene in consideration of winning and making an arrest is mirrored in the suspect’s survival instincts. Therefore, preventive efforts require a deterrent feature. Much as the culprit shall be charged with the direct murder or injury of an innocent victim, the police should as well face disciplinary actions for creating dangerous circumstances by putting the suspect on flight mode. At the very least, this case would deter unwise judgment and offer a fuller sense of retribution to the families of the victims.

Reference List

Clarridge, C. (2013). Snohomish County’s death underscores risks of police pursuits. The Seattle Times , pp. 1-4.

McCrady, M., & Sorgi, J. (2010). New Policy on Milwaukee Police Chases. 620WTMJ Wisconsin Radio Station , p. 5.

The Seattle Personal Injury Attorney. (2013). Deadly Police Pursuit. Web.

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IvyPanda. "Deadly Police Pursuit." March 20, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/deadly-police-pursuit/.


IvyPanda. 2021. "Deadly Police Pursuit." March 20, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/deadly-police-pursuit/.


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