Police Pursuit Policies Could Change - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

09/21/03

Police Pursuit Policies Could Change

Police officers have the awesome responsibility of maintaining law and order within our communities. As you probably suspect, that's not an easy task.

Sometimes tough decisions have to be made in the heat of the moment, like when to call it quits during a police chase. New laws could decide this decision for local police departments and their officers.

On Sunday, Lieutenant Joe Pevey prepares for a new class of police academy cadets. During training, cadets will spend more than 40 hours on police driver training.

"The subject talked about more than any other subject during that week is pursuit driving. We explain to them what the law is, which there is a law already on the books. It does not relieve an officer from due regard to the safety of people during a pursuit, " said Lt. Joe Pevey.

Thirty-six people have been killed during police pursuits since the year 2000, including Jackson County Sheriff Deputy Bruce Evans July of 2000. The deputy was standing by his patrol car when a fleeing suspect ran over him.

The Commission on Police Pursuit Standards is considering making a recommendation to the state legislature to stiffen the penalties for people who flee from police, and to revamp police pursuit policies.

"The state does not require a pursuit policy, but most departments in the state already do have a policy," Pevey said.

These local policies could change if the legislature decides to adopt a statewide police pursuit policy. Some law enforcement officials say a statewide policy would have to be flexible, meeting the different needs of police agencies throughout the state.

"A pursuit policy for the city of Jackson would be a lot more restrictive than a pursuit policy in Tishomingo, County, Mississippi, which is a rural county," Pevey said.

In the meantime, Lt. Pevey will continue training cadets to be good police officers who make sound judgments, whether it's inside the station or out on our city streets.

Toni Miles

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