Upstream. A Mohawk Valley Blogzine.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Are High Speed Police Chases Really Necessary?

In pursuit of a stolen car, Amsterdam city police reached speeds of up to 112 mph this past week, some of it on Guy Park Avenue. Thankfully, this took place in the wee hours of the morning. Is it really necessary for the police to endanger their own lives and other people's lives and property in order to pursue a stolen car? It would be one thing if the guy who stole the car was a violent criminal or had hostages, but even then I am not sure that a high speed pursuit would be the best solution.

Similarly, local police and emergency vehicles have created problems by responding too fast to emergencies. We already lost one policeman in Schenectady because of this. He slammed into a stone abutment while responding to a call. He was going faster than departmental guidelines which call for a maximum of 40 mph within Schenectady when responding to calls.

This past week another accident took place in Schenectady while a policeman was responding to a call. The driver of the other vehicle was taken to the hospital. The accident is still under investigation.

In an earlier post, I mentioned the five accidents involving deputy sheriffs in Fulton County.

A study of accidents involving emergency vehicles needs to be done and statewide guidelines for speed limits for emergency vehicles need to be established.

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