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Police pursuit public policies vary on transparency

Police chases are some of the most intense road problems no matter where they occur in. Whether you're driving through your neighborhood, the highway or a long rural road, you do not want to end up in the middle of the commotion that arises when a police officer goes after a suspect in their vehicles.

When someone suffers either from the criminal or police crashing into their vehicle, they might want to ask the department about what their policies are regarding police pursuits. They drastically vary from each city and county in Pennsylvania. Some choose not to even have their policies available to the public to read. This has led many to debate on how transparent the police should be with the public as the number of chases per year continues to climb.

Selective secrecy

NBC Philadelphia recently highlighted the controversy surrounding local police chases as 2019 has been a rough start. Out of the five law enforcement agencies involved in major pursuits in January, only two of them had their chase policies public.

They do have policies that officers try to follow as best as the situation allows them to, but they choose not to have it publicly available so that potential criminals don't get any ideas on how to evade them. Even the ones that are available to the public may have a limited amount of information.

Despite this, victims of high-profile police changes believe that departments refuse to reveal their policies to avoid liability when bystanders are caught in the crossfire. NBC highlighted one victim who claimed to call her departments many times to find out more about the chase that heavily injured her and her family only to receive no response over a month after the incident.

More victims to come

The controversy surrounding these decisions stemmed from the increasing amount of damage these chases cause. Annual reports that the state police released reveal that the number of chases has gradually gone up since 2013. Back then, there were around 1500 chases per year. Now there's nearly 1800.

If you or a loved one end up a victim during one of these intense chases, you need to know your legal options if your local department is withholding crucial information. A motor vehicle accident attorney can help you figure out your next step towards recovering from damages.

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DelVecchio & Miller, LLC

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