California to Change Police Pursuit Laws to be Less Aggressive

California to Change Police Pursuit Laws to be Less Aggressive

A recent police car chase that lasted two hours and spanned some 100 miles highlighted the efforts of the California Highway Patrol to reduce injuries, deaths, and other physical damages during police pursuits.  For many years California and other states have been looking into changing their pursuit tactics due to the large number of injuries, deaths, and high property damages all due to police chases and police chase lawsuits.

The most recent chase began when police spotted a car carrying three individuals collectively wanted on charges of robbery and other crimes.  The suspects escaped police four times.  At one point one of the suspects, a 16-year-old boy, fell out of the fleeing car on Interstate 15 around Lake Elsinore and was taken into police custody.

The other two, Hugo Nelson De La Cruz Perez, 22, and Natalie Morris, 18, both from Lancaster, finally surrendered when their disabled vehicle was completely blocked by police cars and officers fired pellet shots into the suspect’s car.

At one point during the chase, with one of their tires disabled, one of the suspects got out of the car at a stoplight and attempted to carjack another car from a nearby driver, who sped off before the suspect had a chance to approach the car.  The suspect ran back to the original car and the chase began again.

Ron Cottingham, president of Peace Officers Research Association of California, said the incident underscores recent changes in police pursuit tactics that aim to improve safety during police pursuits.  California is set to change their pursuit laws this January 2006, becoming more cautious and patient during pursuits.

For a long time California has been known for its wild, high-speed, and highly damaging police pursuits that sometimes take place in crowded neighborhoods and high-traffic California highways.  The resulting damages often hurt innocent bystanders and other drivers, and caused millions of dollars a year in property and other physical damages. 



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