Updated: Apr 25, 2020
Representative James Tipton is sponsoring HB 298, which will require local law enforcement to have Police Chase Policy in place or they will lose funding. Representative Tipton Represents Anderson, Spencer and Part of Bullitt counties. In September of 2019 at the just after an Anderson County High School Football game teenager Jill Hurst was struck and killed by someone being pursued by law enforcement in a chase that started in Mercer County. Multiple others were also injured in the crash. Generally creating government policy because of one incident is usually not a good idea, and usually an over reaction, but in this instance the creation of a new policy that will uniform police chase policies for local law enforcement is a good idea and long overdue. Far too often citizens and law enforcement are killed due to an unnecessary police chase. So we applaud Representative Tipton for taking the lead on this issue as well as Rep. Graham of Frankfort and Rep. Myer of Nicholasville for co-sponsoring the legislation.
What this bill would do is "each law enforcement agency of this state shall adopt, implement, enforce, and maintain written policies that establish standards and procedures for the vehicular pursuit of any person who has violated or is suspected of violating the laws of this state. The policy shall create guidelines for determining when the interests of public safety and effective law enforcement justify the initiation or termination of a vehicular pursuit."
The law will require:
1) Decision making Criteria, which may include but is not limited to
a) Potential for harm or danger to others if the fleeing individual escapes or evades custody
b) Seriousness of offense, or believed seriousness of offense before the officer activates emergency equipment.
c) If the officer has a reasonable and articulable suspicion that the driver or an occupant of the vehicle in which they are fleeing represent a clear and present danger to the public safety;
d) Safety factors that pose a risk to peace officers, other motorists, pedestrians, or other third parties;
e) Vehicular or pedestrian traffic safety and volume;
f) Weather and vehicle conditions;
g) Potential speeds of the pursuit; and
h) Consideration of whether the identity of an offender is known and could be apprehended at a later time;
2) Responsibility of the pursuing police officer or officers, including tactics and when the tactics are appropriate.
3) Designation of primary pursuit vehicle and how many pursuit vehicles are needed at a given time in the pursuit.
4) Coordination of communications regarding the pursuit from the beginning of the pursuit.
5) Supervisory command of the pursuit and their responsibilities.
6) Circumstances or conditions in which pursuit intervention tactics should be employed.
The above is just a brief breakdown of the bill, there are obviously more components and legalese for more click the HB 29 link at the top of this post. This is a local mandate with funding being withheld if not followed and of course increased training is required.
Call the legislative hotline at 502-564-8100 or 1-800-372-7181 and tell your Representative, All House Leadership, and members of the House Judiciary Committee that you support HB 298 requiring law enforcement to have police chase policy and training.