I was recently reminded of a police chase story from a while back, in which a sixteen-year-old girl had stolen her mother’s car and taken it with her boyfriend to New Jersey, where her grandmother lived. When they got there, they picked up another girl, Jessica Martinez, age 15, a friend that the driver knew from visits to her grandmother’s, and drove around for a while before the police noticed the stolen vehicle (which had been reported) and began pursuit. This freaked out the driver of the vehicle, who increased her speed and eventually crashed into a utility pole, killing Jessica.
Now, I know the driver bears a good amount of responsibility for what happened, but so do the police. Pursuit is fucking ridiculous except for in extreme circumstances, or when the vehicle is already driving dangerously. I’m certain that with most of these chases, the danger doesn’t begin until the police actually commence with the pursuit. It would make a lot more sense to inconspicuously follow the safely-traveling vehicle to wherever it’s going and then TRY TO APPREHEND THE DRIVER WHEN THEY ARE NOT OPERATING A VERY HEAVY, RELATIVELY MASSIVE PIECE OF MACHINERY CAPABLE OF MOVING AT GREAT SPEEDS.
I have no idea who made the decision that chasing and agitating a safely-driving criminal is a good idea, but it’s time we modified our strategy before more children die.