Law Enforcement News

Vol. XXVI, Nos. 525, 526 A publication of John Jay College of Criminal Justice/CUNY January 15/31, 2000

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In this issue:

Around The Nation: A coast-to-coast roundup of police news.
What’s in a name? Perhaps the fate of a plan to overhaul the police system in Northern Ireland.
One last hurrah: Police target fugitives seeking a Vegas comfort zone.
People & Places: ‘Marshal Marshall’ makes history; sheriff killed by wife; belated honors for valor; the old college try; peer recognition for pragmatist.
Equal opportunity? More women are being arrested in domestic violence incidents. Why?
Souse abuse: Alcohol is the fuel that drives men to spousal battery.
Playing it safer: Line-of-duty deaths are dropping - except in Missouri.
Fair market value: LAPD seeks to cash in on its familiar emblems.
Cost factors: How the drug war exacts a stiff price in police integrity.
Don’t shoot: Connecticut advisory panel urges new deadly-force rules.
Locked & loaded: Gearing up for a busy year on gun issues.
Forum: Few rules guide police in vehicular pursuits of pedestrians.
Walk, don’t run: Supreeme Court’s anticipated ruling on fleeing from police.
They wouldn’t DARE: Minneapolis dumps popular anti-drug program.
Homing in: Web site puts neighborhood crime under the microscope.
Eye-in-the-sky: Satellites track a killer to his victim’s grave.

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Policy vacuum in pursuit of pedestrians

      From September 1997 to June 15, 1999, there were, to this author’s knowledge, at least 17 incidents (and potential lawsuits against police departments) involving injuries suffered by a pedestrian struck by a police vehicle during a pursuit. One can assume that pedestrian, in this case, means suspected lawbreaker, since it would be improper to pursue a non-suspect without cause. The results of these police vehicular pursuits of pedestrians (PVPOP), which occurred in 14 different states, were serious and permanent injuries, including blindness, paralysis, loss of limbs, brain damage and, in some cases, death. With such devastating consequences, it is appropriate — indeed, urgent — that the issue of police liability and attendant issues of policy, training, supervision, discipline, civil rights, deliberate indifference, negligence and more, should be advanced for scrutiny and a meaningful response by law enforcement policy-makers.
      In a situation where a pedestrian with a firearm “draws down” on an oncoming police car, the police officer, under the right circumstances, would be justified in using his vehicle as a deadly weapon and intentionally striking the pedestrian suspect/shooter. But consider those cases in which the suspect is not known to have a weapon and is running from the police for, say, “underage drinking” or “contempt of cop,” and is then struck by the police car — either falling under the car or being struck when the officer deliberately hits the suspect as an intervention. These situations clearly raise the policy and procedure issues of PVPOP and related police vehicular operations, such as cut-offs, barriers and roadblocks...