BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - Recently, we've seen three separate incidents of police pursuits that ended with wrecks. Two of those chases were terminated by police. What policies and procedures do police use to determine the danger of a suspect versus the danger of the pursuit? The answer is, when it comes to a pursuit, education is fundamental.
"All the cadets go through at least 36 hours of vehicle training, and we start with classroom and then move out to the field," said Lt. Kevin Hicks, with the Harrison County Sheriff's Department.
Hicks said out in the field, officers go through an emergency vehicle operations course. That way, when they're faced with real life situations, they know whether or not they need to engage in a pursuit. There's a lot of variables they have to consider.
"The officer stops and says, 'Hey, I'm not going to chase this person anymore,'" said Maj. Jim Adamo, with the Biloxi Police Department. "There could be several reasons for that. We could say we have a tag number. We have a general idea of who this is. The weather. If we have wet roads, it's just not safe for us to be doing this. We have to consider things such as the time of day. We have to consider things like the weather, traffic patterns. We have to consider the location the suspect is running in."
These are all scenarios officers have to think about in a split second, which can cause a lot of stress and adrenaline. Both Adamo and Hicks say it all goes back to education, which will help with performance.
"You can't have too much training in law enforcement. These officers expect to do their jobs every day and spend most of their time inside a vehicle and in a pursuit," said Hicks. "You have to think on a split second, and the more training you have, they're going to be prepared for that."
Adamo says the department is working to get stop sticks to assist them with car pursuits in the future."