Fine reporting in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette today by Scott Carroll, who gathered data on Little Rock police chases over a five-year period. One in four ended in a crash. A recent chase, begun over a theft, ended in the death of a bystander and critical injury to another. A majority seem to occur on account of traffic and misdemeanor offenses or suspicious activity.
Opinion: It’s a rare circumstance when a chase is justified in an urban setting. Officers have too much discretion to begin them. (One documented by Carroll began over failure of a driver to wear a seatbelt.)
In some of my own past FOI requests about officers involved in use of force, I found officers prone to use force also turned up in vehicle crashes. One particularly contact-prone officer had been suspended for three crashes.
We ask a lot of police and they put themselves in harm’s way frequently. But what’s the old saying? Restraint is the better part of valor.