The Police Chief, the Professional Voice of Law Enforcement
Advanced Search
September 2016HomeSite MapContact UsFAQsSubscribe/Renew/UpdateIACP

Current Issue
Search Archives
Web-Only Articles
About Police Chief
Law Enforcement Jobs
buyers Your Oppinion

Back to Archives | Back to August 2007 Contents 

P.U.R.S.U.E.: The Training Video

By Richard J. Ashton, Chief of Police (Retired), Frederick, Maryland, and Grant/Technical Management Manager, International Association of Chiefs of Police


he mention of police pursuits conjures up myriad images. Some will recall Steve McQueen’s fictitious chase in the film Bullitt, O. J. Simpson’s infamous low-speed pursuit, “breaking news” of an ongoing California pursuit preempting regular programming for a considerable period of time, or riveting video of actual police chases on innumerable Web sites. (Note that the IACP formally opposes broadcasting pursuits.1) Others see off-duty Colonial Heights, Virginia, Police Lieutenant James H. Sears, who was killed on August 12, 2006, when his vehicle was struck head-on by a Chesterfield County, Virginia, police officer pursuing a traffic violator, traveling through a red light at 80 miles per hour (mph), losing control of his cruiser, and striking Sears’s car.2 Still others think of 15-year-old Christy Priano, fatally injured on January 22, 2002, when her family’s van was broadsided by another 15-year-old girl fleeing Chico, California, police after stealing her mother’s car to go joyriding.3 In the United States alone, an average of 323 people died each year in police pursuits between 1982 and 2004.4 Many never even saw the pursuit coming.

Video Cover
Figure 1. P.U.R.S.U.E. video cover
The IACP Highway Safety Committee’s Law Enforcement Stops and Safety Subcommittee (LESSS) recognizes the negative response that pursuits evoke, as well as the need to engage in pursuits only under specific scenarios. Surprisingly, 71 percent of the public and almost 91 percent of police officers nonetheless agree that “pursuit is a necessary tool in crimefighting.”5

LESSS just completed production of its second in a series of roll-call training DVDs, P.U.R.S.U.E. (see the cover in figure 1), which will debut at the 114th Annual IACP Conference in New Orleans.6 The 19-minute DVD, produced by the Colorado State Patrol, uses the acronym P.U.R.S.U.E. (Prepare, Understand, Respond, Stop, Utilize, Examine) to identify factors in pursuit decision making in order to provide officers with guidance. Like Your Vest Won’t Stop This Bullet, it neither is an attempt to dictate agencies’ policy or training, nor is it a how-to DVD; it is, instead, a message aimed at increasing awareness.


Police officers never know what any tour of duty holds for them, so advance preparation is absolutely crucial. Preparation for a pursuit should begin during entry-level officer training, with unequivocal instruction in the laws and judicial decisions by which the jurisdiction is governed, as well as instruction in the agency’s written policy—which the IACP urged departments to adopt at its 80th Annual Conference in 19737—and memoranda of understanding (MOUs) in this regard. In reality, every agency has a vehicular pursuit policy, even if it is one that simply prohibits all pursuits; officers need to understand clearly what their agency allows. The IACP developed a model policy to which agencies may refer during policy development or against which they may compare existing guidelines.8

The IACP recognized at its 81st Annual Conference in 1974 “the need for preparatory training in the special area of high speed pursuit and emergency driving”9 and resolved at its 87th Annual Conference in 1980 that all officers who had not received training developed by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) be afforded that training or its equivalent.10 Nonetheless, a 1997 study found that, on average, less than 14 hours of driver skills training was provided to entry-level officers, and just slightly more than three hours of annual in-service training was offered—but this training was based more on the mechanics of defensive and/or pursuit driving than on decision making in conjunction therewith.11

Officers should be afforded the highest-quality training the agency is able to arrange. Ideally, they should drive the type of vehicles to which they are assigned on courses designed to replicate the roadway and tactical situations to which they will be exposed. They should know which vehicles in the agency’s fleet have been designed and authorized for high-speed emergency vehicle operations, as well as under what conditions they may be used, e.g., unmarked vehicles or motorcycles.12 Driving simulators and periodic refresher training should be available, so officers remain throughout their careers as proficient in pursuit driving as in using firearms. Both are high-risk, low-frequency activities that can affect an agency in numerous respects, especially when pursuits go awry. As a result of the crash that took Lieutenant Sears’s life, Chesterfield County settled for $2.35 million the wrongful-death claim filed by the family.13

Human beings are creatures of habit. If officers are taught to perform before each tour of duty various maintenance and safety tasks (such as checking vehicle fluid levels, tire condition and pressure, and windshield cleanliness), as well as emergency equipment operability tasks (such as checking lights, siren, and in-car camera), they instinctively will do so and will possess reasonable confidence that their vehicles will be able to be operated in a pursuit or in another high-speed response about which they will not be forewarned.

The wearing of seat belts, like body armor, should be mandated by police agencies and enforced by supervisors, for “[r]egular seat belt use is the single most effective way to protect people and reduce fatalities in motor vehicle crashes.”14 The IACP resolved at its 84th Annual Conference in 1977 to support legislation mandating the use of seat belts by front seat occupants, as well as written policies requiring the use of seat belts by government employees on official business.15 However, an analysis of 63 episodes of the police-oriented reality television series COPS, aired over 15 years, revealed that police officers, regardless of their race or sex, buckled up only 38 percent of the time and only 48 percent of the time when engaged in high-speed driving.16 Seat belts are even more critical today than in the past because so many other safety features are intertwined with—and dependent upon—their proper use.


During pursuits, officers lacking sufficient emergency vehicle operations training may experience rapid heart rate and breathing, decreased fine motor skills, and “tunnel vision,” a state in which their eyes fix on the pursued vehicle and they are oblivious to virtually everything else. “When you come under stress, in order to survive[,] the brain does several things—like increasing heart rate, blood flow, releas[ing] hormones like adrenaline and things like that,” says Jonathan Page, a psychology professor at Minnesota State University–Mankato. “But to do all that, it takes away from just your average cognitive processes that you can do when there is no stress.”17

For officers to survive stressful situations, they must understand that both psychological and physical changes will occur, must recognize these symptoms, and must be taught to deal appropriately with them. Understanding and training will allow officers to substitute reasonable responses for emotional ones, thereby enabling them to improve the quality of their decisions and to reduce the inherent dangers of pursuits.


Officers must recognize a suspect’s actions and decide whether or not the circumstances both fit the agency’s policy and warrant a decision to pursue. The initial violation; whether the suspect actually is planning to flee or simply is unaware of the officer’s presence; whether or not the violator’s identity is known to the officer; and the prevailing traffic, environmental, and neighborhood conditions all must be weighed. The decision whether or not to pursue typically has to be made within 5 to 10 seconds.18 It is critical to permit an officer to forgo a pursuit whenever that officer objectively evaluates the existing circumstances and then decides the risks of pursuit are inappropriate. However, steps must be undertaken to ensure that peer pressure or the threat of future ridicule, emotion overshadowing the officer’s reasoning, and speculation on the reason for flight are not factored into the decision-making process.

On April 30, 2007, the U.S. Supreme Court clarified several critical issues for law enforcement when it handed down a decision in Scott v. Harris.19 The relevant facts upon which this 8-1 decision was based are as follows. A Coweta County, Georgia, sheriff’s deputy in a marked cruiser clocked Victor Harris’s vehicle traveling at 73 mph in a 55-mph zone and unsuccessfully attempted to stop that vehicle for this “minor traffic offense,”20

racing down narrow, two-lane roads in the dead of night at speeds that are shockingly fast[,] . . . swerv[ing] around more than a dozen other cars, cross[ing] the double-yellow line, forc[ing] cars traveling in both directions to their respective shoulders to avoid being hit[,] run[ning] multiple red lights and travel[ing] for considerable periods of time in the occasional center left-turn-only lane[.] . . .21

Deputy Timothy Scott and other officers copied the pursuing deputy’s radio broadcast, which included the registration number of Harris’s vehicle. At one point during the six-minute and nearly 10-mile pursuit at speeds exceeding 85 mph, Harris entered the parking lot of a shopping center whose businesses were closed; his vehicle nearly was boxed in by police vehicles, but he escaped by turning sharply and striking Deputy Scott’s cruiser. Scott became the primary pursuer and eventually gained supervisory approval to initiate a precision intervention technique (PIT) maneuver, which he ultimately chose not to deploy because the speeds were too great to complete it safely. Instead, Scott applied his cruiser’s push bumper to the rear of Harris’s vehicle, causing Harris to lose control of his vehicle, which then left the roadway, traveled down an embankment, and overturned. The 19-year-old suspect was left a quadriplegic.22

Significantly, compared with other pursuits recorded in the IACP Police Pursuit Database,23 this pursuit was atypical. Of the 7,657 pursuits in the database, only 12 percent were initiated for speeding, 30 percent lasted longer than five minutes, only 10 percent covered a distance of more than 10 miles, 25 percent exceeded 81 mph, only 6 percent were terminated via police intervention, only 1 percent involved the violator being seriously injured, and 21 percent of the pursued were aged between 19 and 23 years.

The Scott ruling is especially important for law enforcement in three respects:

  • The Court held, “A police officer’s attempt to terminate a dangerous high-speed car chase that threatens the lives of innocent bystanders does not violate the Fourth Amendment, even when it places the fleeing motorist at risk of serious injury or death.”24 “[A]ll that matters is whether [an officer’s] actions were reasonable[,]”25 and reasonableness is determined by “balanc[ing] the nature and quality of the intrusion on the individual’s Fourth Amendment interests against the importance of the governmental interests alleged to justify the intrusion.”26 In this case, the Court weighed “the risk of bodily harm that Scott’s actions posed to [Harris] in light of the threat to the public that Scott was trying to eliminate”27 and “their relative culpability[,]” emphasizing that Harris, “after all, . . . intentionally placed himself and the public in danger by unlawfully engaging in the reckless, high-speed flight . . .” and that “those who might have been harmed had Scott not taken the action he did were entirely innocent.”28

  • Contemporary wisdom and agencies’ pursuit policy often suggest that officers terminate pursuits to reduce the risk to the public. However, the Court indicated,
    Whereas Scott’s action—ramming [Harris] off the road—was certain to eliminate the risk that [Harris] posed to the public, ceasing pursuit was not. First of all, there would have been no way to convey convincingly to [Harris] that the chase was off, and that he was free to go. . . . Second, we are loath to lay down a rule requiring the police to allow fleeing suspects to get away whenever they drive so recklessly that they put other people’s lives in danger. . . .29 (emphasis in original)

  • Significantly, the key to the resolution of this case in law enforcement’s favor was the in-car camera, the videotape from which was included with the decision.30 The Court made the following three statements regarding this evidence: “The videotape quite clearly contradicts the version of the story told by [Harris] and adopted by the Court of Appeals [for the 11th Circuit].”31 “[Harris’s] version of events is so utterly discredited by the record that no reasonable jury could have believed him. The Court of Appeals should not have relied on such visible fiction . . . .”32 “[W]hat we see on the video more closely resembles a Hollywood-style car chase of the most frightening sort, placing police officers and innocent bystanders alike at great risk of serious injury.”33 The Court’s use of—and its reliance on—the videotape is a huge boost to supporters of this technology for law enforcement purposes.


All pursuits will end, and most will end sooner rather than later: according to the IACP Police Pursuit Database, 48 percent will end in two minutes or less, 59 percent will cover two miles or less, and 36 percent will end with the violator simply stopping. Although maintaining one’s awareness of events in the throes of “the chase” frequently is extremely difficult, the bottom line nevertheless must be for officers to evaluate continually evolving conditions and to react in the interest of public safety, as well as the safety of police officers; termination often is a reasonable alternative when the risks of continuing a pursuit outweigh the potential benefits. Officers must be taught that faithfulness to their oath is not diminished when they reasonably conclude that the prevailing conditions—e.g., deteriorating weather conditions, approaching school zones or playgrounds, or increasing pedestrian traffic—dictate ceasing pursuit. They must be supported for their good decision making in these instances. “An officer who elects to terminate pursuit should not be subjected to the scrutiny or ridicule of other officers, either. Easier said than done perhaps, but officers should know they have the backing of the administration and that peer criticism/condemnation will not be tolerated.”34

Requiring a supervisor to monitor pursuits permits a detached and more objective individual—a “cooler head”—to manage the activity.35 While ensuring that agency policy is obeyed, the supervisor can control the number of units involved (preventing “caravanning”), can evaluate the rapidly changing circumstances, and can terminate the pursuit if the violator has been identified and can be apprehended later, or if the immediate or potential danger to the public of allowing the pursued to escape trumps the immediate danger to the officer and the public created by the pursuit.36

Whenever a pursuit ends in the apprehension of the violator, emotions tend to run high. Consequently, a supervisor must make every effort to arrive promptly at the arrest scene and assume control over it; this action can contribute to the professional resolution of the pursuit and to the concomitant avoidance of allegations of inappropriate behavior or other misconduct. “Sergeants are taught to respond to pursuits because the LAPD has learned from experience that excessive force is most likely when the passions of the chase and the adrenaline of officers and suspects are running high. . . .”37

Had Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) Sergeant Stacey C. Koon exercised his supervisory authority and responsibility on March 3, 1991, as he should have, Rodney G. King never would have become a household name. In former chief Daryl F. Gates’s words, “What they should have done, if they really loved their brother officers [was to] have stepped in and grabbed them and hauled them back and said, ‘Knock it off!’ That’s what the sergeant should have done [and] that’s what every officer there should have done.”38 Any police officer who has been a supervisor for any length of time has been in the position of removing an emotionally overcharged subordinate from a high-intensity scene.


Any technique allowing officers to intervene in pursuits needs to be readily deployable. Since 48 percent of all pursuits end in two minutes or less and 68 percent of them cover three miles or less, according to the IACP Police Pursuit Database, the need to readily deploy a technique obviously is paramount. In fact, an intervention technique was used in only 6 percent of 7,657 pursuits.

Officers should be taught to utilize all means of intervention that are available legally and operationally to terminate pursuits. Some of the most typically available techniques are listed here.

Tire Deflation Devices: Tire deflation devices were the method selected in 56 percent of interventions recorded in the IACP Police Pursuit Database and appear to be “the most widely used pursuit termination technology available today.”39 Relatively speaking, they are cost-effective, easily stored in cruisers, adeptly deployable by a single officer over one or two lanes, and quickly removable from the roadway after the pursued vehicle passes. The disadvantages: officers have been struck, injured, and killed while deploying these devices, either by the pursued vehicle attempting to avoid the device or by police cruisers involved in the pursuit; and the devices are not recommended for use in stopping motorcycles, all-terrain vehicles, buses transporting passengers, or vehicles transporting hazardous material. Since the first officer positioning these devices was struck and killed in 1996, 10 law enforcement officers in the United States have been killed deploying stop sticks.40

PIT Maneuver: A PIT maneuver “involves contacting (not ramming) a fleeing vehicle in a rear corner, causing it to spin out of control, usually in a 180° spin. Normally, this immobilizes the vehicle long enough for an apprehension to be made. This technique [pioneered by the Fairfax County, Virginia, Police Department] is not recommended for speeds over 35 mph (because of a risk of rollover) or in areas where the spinning car could strike other cars. . . .”41 The PIT maneuver was selected in 11 percent of interventions recorded in the IACP Police Pursuit Database.

Stationary Roadblock: In Brower v. County of Inyo,42 the U.S. Supreme Court stated, “Violation of the Fourth Amendment requires an intentional acquisition of physical control. . . . [A] Fourth Amendment seizure [occurs] . . . only when there is a governmental termination of freedom of movement through means intentionally applied. . . .”43 (emphasis added). In that case, “[t]he decedent had been driving a stolen car at high speeds to attempt to escape from pursuing police vehicles, and he was killed when his car crashed into a police roadblock[,]” where “police [had] placed an 18-wheel truck completely across the highway in the path of the pursued vehicle, behind a curve, with a police car’s headlights aimed in such a fashion as to blind the pursued driver as he approached.”44 Similarly, Deputy Scott “seized” Harris in Scott v. Harris when the former decided “to terminate the car chase by ramming his bumper into [Harris’s] vehicle[.] . . .”45 Roadblocks were the method selected in 6 percent of interventions recorded in the IACP Police Pursuit Database and are discussed in an IACP model policy.46

Ramming: Many agencies either entirely forbid or severely limit ramming to circumstances involving the use of deadly force. In a survey conducted by the Public Agency Training Council and the Legal and Liability Risk Management Institute in November and December 2006, 6 percent of more than 1,000 respondents indicated that their agencies allowed ramming a vehicle during a pursuit; however, in agencies where it was permitted, ramming was limited to deadly-force circumstances 61 percent of the time and required supervisory permission 39 percent of the time.47 Interestingly, another issue causing agencies to ban ramming is the possibility of airbag deployment, which renders the police vehicle inoperable.48

Rolling/Moving Roadblock: A moving roadblock is “a partial blockage of the roadway normally by patrol vehicles in motion[,] . . . employed only at low speeds, after appropriate training, and as last resorts under conditions where the use of potentially lethal force is legally justified.”49 Rolling roadblocks were the method selected in 5 percent of interventions recorded in the IACP Police Pursuit Database. Along these lines, the Hillsborough County, Florida, Sheriff’s Office developed the “vehicle interception” technique in 1995, authorized for felony suspects and suspected impaired drivers posing a threat to others and used in conjunction with aircraft and canine units.50 Following its first year of operation, deputy-initiated pursuits declined approximately 50 percent; after three years, vehicle intervention had been successfully initiated about 150 times, with only one minor injury—to a deputy—and with minimal damage to some police vehicles. It required four hours’ training: two in the classroom and two of practical training on the driving pad. It works as follows:

When the location . . . has been determined, the primary blocking unit will pull in front of the suspect vehicle, still refraining from activating emergency equipment. The primary unit’s position is perpendicular to the front [of the] suspect vehicle, with the rear axle in line with the center of the suspect’s hood. The other police vehicles simultaneously block the rear of the vehicle; minimal bumper-to-bumper contact is authorized. A third or fourth vehicle can also take up a coverage position, facing the vehicle’s driver’s side door from 20 to 60 feet away. Emergency equipment can now be activated to further startle and confuse the occupants of the suspect vehicle.

The deputy operating the primary blocking vehicle remains in his unit until the suspect vehicle and its occupants have been secured. This prevents potential injury to the deputy should a suspect attempt to break an intercept. . . .51

Helicopters: The following information should be of interest to agencies with access to helicopters:

Jurisdictions large enough to have helicopter support have a viable alternative to vehicle pursuits. In August 1998, the National Institute of Justice published a report titled Helicopter in Pursuit Operations. The report studied the effectiveness of helicopter pursuits in two major American cities: Baltimore and Miami-Dade Co. Although the two individual pursuit procedures differ, both agencies share the policy that once a helicopter is overhead and has the suspect in view, pursuing officers turn off emergency equipment, cease active pursuit and slow down. They continue to follow (based on directions of the helicopter crew) at a safe distance so the suspect is not aware of them.

In both departments, suspects are observed until they stop and exit the vehicle, at which time ground units move in and make the arrest. There are other parameters, depending on the scenarios, but the results of helicopter intervention are encouraging. During the period studied, Baltimore reported an 83% success rate and Miami-Dade reported a whopping 91% success rate with their tactics.52

StarChase: StarChase offers the potential of tagging and then tracking a fleeing vehicle, thereby avoiding a pursuit. In this system, a projectile containing a miniature Global Positioning System (GPS) receiver would be launched from a police vehicle from as far away as 40 feet; the pursued vehicle’s exact position would be monitored in real time by an agency’s dispatch center.53 Police vehicles would be advised of the pursued vehicle’s route of travel and could intercept it when it stops. Both the Florida Highway Patrol and the LAPD began testing this system in 2006. Drawbacks to this system include its inability to identify the pursued vehicle’s driver—obviously crucial to successful prosecution—and its cost of more than $1,200 to $1,500 per police vehicle.54


Each pursuit needs to be fully and accurately documented to provide data with which to determine the effectiveness of—and the extent of compliance with—current policy; to examine within a jurisdiction the frequency, seriousness, and other aspects of pursuits; and to ensure successful prosecutions of those apprehended. Mandating the reporting of all pursuits allows agencies to develop and implement sound, effective strategies based upon all available information, not just upon those pursuits that were spectacular in some respect. Jurisdictions that are aware of all pursuits are better able to define and arguably defend the problem, for they are conscious of the statistics and history.

Debriefings held shortly after pursuits can be powerful training tools. They can be informal and of short duration, but the opportunity for all personnel who were directly involved, including (but not necessarily limited to) officers, supervisors, and dispatchers, to provide their perspectives on what had just occurred and to examine the techniques used cannot be overemphasized. Debriefings should not replace the completion, review, and examination of required reports or the thorough investigation of each pursuit to determine the extent to which agency pursuit policy was followed, whether actions were taken outside that policy, whether a need for policy change exists, whether additional training is recommended, and whether some form of positive recognition or disciplinary action is warranted.

Pursuits are necessary evils for law enforcement. Although they rivet the interest of the uninvolved, they are fraught with danger, ending in the death of an uninvolved person 27 percent of the time over a 22-year period.55 Because today’s criminals are able to flee so rapidly from jurisdictions in which they committed crimes, officers in neighboring jurisdictions often have not yet been alerted to those crimes and are unaware why individuals refuse to stop. It might be because of a speeding violation, like Victor Harris or like the motorcyclists in County of Sacramento v. Lewis;56 an invalid license; a stolen car, as in Brower v. Inyo County; an “open” arrest warrant for a violent felony; or the perpetration of an armed robbery in which a victim was shot. Officers seldom know beforehand the true reason for a citizen’s failure to stop, and chiefs never know how the scenarios already mentioned as well as myriad others will fit into the policy they promulgated, whether the training they afforded their officers will equip them to respond reasonably, or whether officers will react based upon what they were taught. Although the decision handed down in Scott v. Harris should assist law enforcement in terms of liability, it is unlikely that many pursuit policies will change radically as a result. Perhaps P.U.R.S.U.E. will provide chiefs and their officers with the awareness they require to perform better their responsibilities. Watch it and see!■


1International Association of Chiefs of Police, “Resolution: Opposition to the Use of Televised or Recorded Pursuits,” 2001, (accessed June 27, 2007).
2Mark Bowes, “Police Pursuit Deaths Up in ‘06,” Richmond Times-Dispatch, April 8, 2007,!news!localnews (accessed July 3, 2007).
3Randi Kaye, “Supreme Court Examines High-Speed Police Chases,” Anderson Cooper 360 Degrees, February 26, 2007, (accessed June 26, 2007).
4National Center for Statistics and Analysis, “Fatalities in Motor Vehicle Traffic Crashes Involving Police in Pursuit, 1982–2004, by State and Crash Year,” Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS), September 13, 2005.
5Robert Osborne, Pursuit Management Task Force Report (Rockville, Md.: National Law Enforcement and Corrections Technology Center, 1998), 21.
6The following individuals actively exerted considerable effort to produce this DVD through Colonel Mark V. Trostel’s generosity in making available the excellent facilities and professional staff of the Colorado State Patrol: Deputy Commissioner Joseph A. Farrow, of the California Highway Patrol and LESSS Chair; Lieutenant Colonel M. Anthony Padilla, Captain Raymond Fisher, and videographer Marcus Umstead, of the Colorado State Patrol; Captain Brigette E. Charles, of the Ohio State Highway Patrol; Lieutenant Daniel J. Townsend, of the Fairfax County, Virginia, Police Department; Lieutenant James D. Wells Jr., of the Florida Highway Patrol; Lieutenant Jack Hegarty, of the Arizona Department of Public Safety; Sheriff John T. Whetsel, of Oklahoma County, Oklahoma; Keith D. Williams, of the NHTSA; and the author.
7International Association of Chiefs of Police, “Vehicular Pursuits by Police Officers,” The Police Yearbook, 1974 (Gaithersburg, Md.: International Association of Chiefs of Police, 1974), 161.
8International Association of Chiefs of Police, Model Policy: Vehicular Pursuit, October 1996, (accessed May 11, 2007).
9International Association of Chiefs of Police, “High Speed Pursuit Driving Training,” The Police Yearbook, 1975 (Gaithersburg, Md.: International Association of Chiefs of Police, 1975), 255–256.
10International Association of Chiefs of Police, “High Speed Driving—Training,” The Police Yearbook, 1981 (Gaithersburg, Md.: International Association of Chiefs of Police, 1981), 267–268.
11Geoffrey P. Alpert, “Police Pursuit: Policies and Training,” Research in Brief (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of Justice, 1997), 2.
12International Association of Chiefs of Police, Model Policy: Vehicular Pursuit, 2.
13Bowes, “Police Pursuit Deaths Up in ‘06.”
14National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, “‘Click It or Ticket’ Planner Fact Sheet & Talking Points,” 2007 National Click It or Ticket Mobilization Campaign Planner, May 2007, (accessed May 17, 2007).
15International Association of Chiefs of Police, “Mandatory Use of Restraints by Front Seat Occupants of Motor Vehicles,” The Police Yearbook, 1978 (Gaithersburg, Md.: International Association of Chiefs of Police, 1978), 335–336.
16John A. Cowan Jr., Bradley Jones, and Helen Ho, “Safety Belt Use by Law Enforcement Officers on Reality Television: A Missed Opportunity for Injury Prevention?” Journal of Trauma-Injury Infection & Critical Care 61, no. 4 (October 2006): 1001–1004.
17Sea Stachura, “Training a Brain for a Car Chase,” Minnesota Public Radio, July 16, 2006, (accessed May 17, 2007).
18Robert Osborne, Pursuit Management Task Force Report (Rockville, Md.: National Law Enforcement and Corrections Technology Center, 1998), 11.
19Scott v. Harris, 127 S. Ct. 1769, 1777 (2007).
20Id., slip op. at 9, n. 9.
21Id., slip op. at 6 (footnote omitted).
22Id., slip op. at 1–2.
23As of April 24, 2007, the IACP Police Pursuit Database contained 7,657 pursuits contributed by 57 agencies covering the period between January 1, 1980, and April 24, 2007. Initiated in 2000, the IACP Police Pursuit Database evolved from a recommendation in the Pursuit Management Task Force Report. It is a secure, Web-based database that tracks the most common elements of pursuits and is available only to law enforcement agencies. The information agencies voluntarily submit is aggregated, so data cannot be traced to individual agencies. For more information, contact Albert Arena, IACP Research Center Directorate, at 800-843-4227, extension 836, or via e-mail at>24Scott, 127 S. Ct. slip op. at 13.
25Id., slip op. at 10.
26Id., quoting United States v. Place, 462 U.S. 696, 703 (1983).
27Id., slip op. at 11.
29Id., slip op. at 12–13.
30The video is available at
31Scott, 127 S. Ct. slip op. at 5 (footnote omitted).
32Id., slip op. at 7–8.
33Id., slip op. at 7 (footnote omitted).
34James Post, “Police Pursuits: What Are the Alternatives?” Police and Security News 15, no. 3 (May–June 1999): 29.
35International Association of Chiefs of Police, Model Policy: Vehicular Pursuit, 2.
37Lou Cannon, Official Negligence: How Rodney King and the Riots Changed Los Angeles and the LAPD (New York: Times Books, 1997), 47.
38Jerome H. Skolnick and James J. Fyfe, Above the Law: Police and the Excessive Use of Force (New York: The Free Press, 1993), 14.
39Osborne, Pursuit Management Task Force Report, 45.
40Craig W. Floyd, “Officers Killed Deploying Stop Sticks,” October 4, 2005, (accessed June 14, 2007).
41Post, “Police Pursuits,” 32.
42489 U.S. 593 (1989).
43Id. at 596–597.
44Bernard J. Farber, “Civil Liability for Law Enforcement Pursuit Driving,” AELE Monthly Law Journal 101, no. 2 (February 2007): 103–104.
45Scott, 127 S. Ct. slip op. at 8.
46International Association of Chiefs of Police, Policy 1.2, entitled “Roadblocks,” of the Manual of Police Traffic Services Policies and Procedures, July 1, 2004, (accessed June 17, 2007).
47“Vehicle Pursuit & Pursuit Tactics Survey Results,” Public Agency Training Council, (accessed March 23, 2007), 1–2.
48Jack Ryan, “Ramming During Pursuit Viewed As Deadly Force,” Public Agency Training Council, (accessed June 12, 2007), 4.
49International Association of Chiefs of Police, Policy 1.2, “Roadblocks.”
50Clyde B. Eisenberg, “Pursuit Management,” Law and Order 47, no. 3 (March 1999): 74–76.
51Ibid., 75–76.
52Post, “Police Pursuits,” 29–30.
53See the StarChase Web site at
54Derek Kravitz, “Pin the Tail on the Speeder: ‘Tag and Track’ Projectile Can Be Fired at Vehicles up to 40 Feet Away,” St. Louis Post-Dispatch, February 23, 2007, A1.
55National Center for Statistics and Analysis, “Fatalities in Motor Vehicle Traffic Crashes involving Police in Pursuit, 1982–2004, by State and Crash Year,” Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS), September 13, 2005.
56523 U.S. 833, 836–837 (1998). This pursuit began when 18-year-old Brian Willard and his 16-year-old passenger Philip Lewis approached at excessive speed two deputy sheriffs on the side of the road and led them on a 75-second pursuit, covering 1.3 miles in a residential neighborhood and traveling about 100 mph. “[T]he motorcycle wove in and out of oncoming traffic, forcing two cars and a bicycle to swerve off of the road . . .” and tipped over when Willard failed to negotiate a sharp left turn. Lewis was thrown from the motorcycle into the path of one of the sheriff’s units and was struck and killed.



From The Police Chief, vol. 74, no. 8, August 2007. Copyright held by the International Association of Chiefs of Police, 515 North Washington Street, Alexandria, VA 22314 USA.

The official publication of the International Association of Chiefs of Police.
The online version of the Police Chief Magazine is possible through a grant from the IACP Foundation. To learn more about the IACP Foundation, click here.

All contents Copyright © 2003 - International Association of Chiefs of Police. All Rights Reserved.
Copyright and Trademark Notice | Member and Non-Member Supplied Information | Links Policy

44 Canal Center Plaza, Suite 200, Alexandria, VA USA 22314 phone: 703.836.6767 or 1.800.THE IACP fax: 703.836.4543

Created by Matrix Group International, Inc.®