About 10 people die every single year in Indiana due to police chases. Some are demanding the Indianapolis Police Department make changes to prevent this from happening. But despite two recent deaths, the department is cautious to make any “hasty” decisions and is concerned that officers would see the changes as “surrendering”.
The current policy allows Indianapolis officers to give chase to anyone for any involvement in any crime. There really are no restrictions. This kind of wide-open policy may have played a role in the August 30th chase-related deaths of two teenagers, D’airres Hightower, 15, and Brandon Palmer, 19. And while this case has brought the policy back into the limelight, the Public Safety Director Frank Straub has said “We don’t want to just change something because we are reacting to a recent event.”
Straub says that officials are considering changes and that a decision should be reached within 2 to 3 months. But he also says they are being cautious in considering “what, if any, rule changes are appropriate here.”
Many large cities have restrictions on who can be chased and for what reasons, even limiting speeds and the amount of time a chase can proceed. In Orlando, for example, cops can only give chase when the suspect is wanted in connection with a crime of violence, not a property crime.
The Chief of Police favors a rule change and says his officers could get used to new policies. But the president of the Indianapolis chapter of the Fraternal Order of Police said that officers would see the change as “surrender” and many would oppose it. You would think police officers would favor any policies that can save their own lives and make the rules more clear cut.
If the chase standards were tightened, officers would simply have to use other investigative techniques to catch up with the suspect at a later date. From license plate numbers to the likelihood that the police already know who they are chasing, it’s not likely that a “getaway car” would get away for good.
Most frequently, the people who give chase are pulled over on a traffic stop and have one reason or another to not stick around. They have a warrant or they have something in the vehicle they don’t want discovered. In some cities, police would not pursue these people. In Indianapolis, however, they would.
The bottom line is: the police will likely catch you if you bolt. They might not get you today but they will keep looking. If you have a warrant for your arrest or are wanted for questioning, sometimes the best move is to discuss your case with a defense lawyer before drawing it out any longer.