Jason, a Houston police officer who blogs at Cigars, Donuts and Coffee, opines that "I have never seen an instance where a pursuit was terminated that the criminal slowed down and obeyed the traffic laws. When the police stop chasing, the criminal will continue fleeing at high speeds."
That's interesting, isn't it? How could an officer claim to know what a suspect did once they were out of his sight? It turns out, Jason's assumptions about how offenders react when police stop chasing are mostly wrong. Catonya writes:
Dr. Geoffrey Alpert is an internationally acknowledged expert on police pursuits. Complete results of his research are published in the U.S. Justice Department Research in Brief. “Basically, we learned that most suspects will respond to police officers who terminate their active attempt to chase. The fleeing suspects will continue until they feel safe and then either attempt to blend into traffic or “ditch” the car and run on foot. Suspects feel safe in a relatively short period of time and distance.”Catonya quotes DOJ calculating that, "On an annual basis, deaths resulting from high speed chase incidents exceed deaths related to police discharge of firearms." One-third of high-speed chase deaths are innocent bystanders, she points out, and many more victims are police officers themselves.
Check out the links for a good debate on this important subject.
MORE: Scott Greenfield at Simple Justice thinks many officers enjoy high-speed chases. He also believes there's a:
natural cop need to teach a lesson to people who "just don't listen." Since a taser won't do any good when the other guy is in a car, high speed pursuit is the only recourse. After all, if the perp gets away, the cop can't show him who's boss and that you don't mess with a cop.