POLICE VICTIMS IN POLICE CHASES

On August 10, 2015, we wrote about police chases causing innocent victims’ serious injuries and death. On August 24, 2015, we continued to write about police chases and lack of alternative to stop fleeing vehicles On October 6, 2015, we wrote about police chase fatalities being under tallied. Now, we write about the FBI understates police deaths.

According to an article in USA Today – The Journal News on October 27, 2015, the FBI has drastically understated the number of police killed in high speed chases. Records show at least 371 officers were killed in vehicle pursuit through 2012. A far cry from the FBI’s counting only 24 deaths since 1980. USA Today reviewed the U.S. Department of Transportation data for fatal vehicle crashes. Their records are maintained by two private police memorial groups. The death tally is 15 times the number of chase related death then the FBI has counted. This has led to the FBI to label all cases of police killed in chases as “automobile accidents” not delineating high speed chases where an officer has been killed. According to researcher, Geoffrey Alpert of the University of South Carolina, these are categorized as police auto accidents involving police deaths.

The article points out police are a small portion of death in the past 35 years from police chases. The number of killed from police chases in the 35 years is 11,500! One quarter were passengers in fleeing cars. With these kind of statistics, stronger protocols are needed before a police chase is used. These protocols should consider the crime being committed, if lives of innocent bystanders are likely and other methods of containing the fleeing vehicle. The FBI has failed to keep proper records and has under tallied police death by thousands. These statistics are relied on by Congress and police agencies in forming policies for the limited use of police chases and funding for the education of the police as to when and how to use a police chase.

If you or a loved one has been an innocent victim as a result of a police chase, contact the law firm of Dominick J. Robustelli & Associates, PLLC at (914) 288-0800 or contact us on web page white-plains-personal injury.law.