Lawsuits multiply

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What is a law enforcement prosecution you ask? A vehicle chase is an event involving one or more law enforcement officers attempting to apprehend a suspect who is attempting to avoid being arrested while operating a motor vehicle using high speed driving. or other avoidance tactics such as exiting a freeway, turning sharply, or entering in a legal manner but willfully failing to give in to an officer’s signal to stop.

What considerations should be taken into account by a law enforcement officer when initiating the pursuit of a suspicious vehicle?

Law enforcement officers are authorized to initiate a prosecution when it is reasonable to believe that a suspect is attempting to escape arrest or detention by fleeing in a vehicle. The following factors, individually and collectively, are taken into consideration in deciding whether or not to initiate a lawsuit:

1. The seriousness of the known or reasonably suspected crime and its relationship to community safety.


2. The importance of protecting the public and balancing the known or reasonably suspected violation and the apparent need for immediate capture against the risks to officers, uninvolved motorists and others.

3. Apparent nature of the fleeing suspect (s) (eg, whether the suspect (s) pose a serious threat to public safety).

4. The identity of the suspect (s) has been verified and there is a relatively minimal risk of allowing the suspect (s) to be apprehended at a later date.

5. Public safety in the pursuit zone, including type of zone, time of day, volume of vehicle and pedestrian traffic and speed of the pursuit in relation to these factors.

6. Familiarity of law enforcement officers with the pursuit area and the driving capabilities of prosecuting officers under the conditions of the pursuit.

7. The quality of radio communications between the prosecuting units and the Communication Center.

8. Weather, traffic and road conditions which greatly increase the danger of the pursuit beyond the value of apprehending the suspect.

9. Performance capabilities of vehicles used in the chase with respect to speeds and other conditions of the chase.

10. Vehicle speeds.

11. Other persons in or on the pursued vehicle (eg passengers, additional suspects and hostages).

12. The police unit carries passengers other than police officers.

I am writing this because pursuing law enforcement is one of the most complex and stressful tasks staff will be involved in throughout their careers. Locally and statewide, law enforcement has seen more and more drivers flee from attempted traffic checks in recent months.

In 2019, the Mecosta County Sheriff’s Office attempted to stop a vehicle and scared the driver away, with a pursuit six times.

In 2020, that number increased to 11 prosecutions.

Already this year, nine months later, we are already at 11 prosecutions. These are just those initiated by our MPs, not counting those with whom we have assisted other law enforcement agencies.

The Mecosta County Sheriff’s Office, like most law enforcement agencies, has a restrictive prosecution policy. We put it in place because of the risks to the safety of the community, the driver of the suspect vehicle, its potential passengers and the law enforcement officers involved. The potential for these lawsuits to be dangerous and tragic for everyone at this time is very high.

I attribute the increase in prosecutions to the methamphetamine epidemic, a growing lack of respect for the law, and the lack of consequences for people when they break the law. I still think that as a society we are increasingly empowering individuals, instead of forcing them to live up to a standard of behavior and ensuring that they are accountable and that there is adequate punishment. when these are not respected.

I associate not only the increase in vehicular prosecutions with the victimization mentality of a small part of our society, but also the increase in resistance and obstruction of MPs by suspects in our office during the last year. We’ve gone from seven cases in 2020 to 11 so far in 2021.

There is a lot of talk about police reform. There is a place for better policing.

We need to be better trained in police tactics and social issues in our society. You won’t hear me argue that. However, I also want people to look at themselves in the mirror and ask themselves what responsibility they have to themselves and those among whom they live to be responsible for their own actions and to follow the laws that we have in place in our country. community. We are moving further and further away from self-control.

With the increase in prosecutions, there is still a need for ongoing defensive driving training for law enforcement personnel to better prepare them for prosecution, so that they can function when the pressure of this act is pressured. takes place. There must also be tougher penalties for people fleeing law enforcement officials.

Prosecutions continue to be a necessary tactic for law enforcement to adequately enforce laws put in place by the company. When executed and applied appropriately and within the policy and procedure of our agencies, it helps to take certain people, often those who are the most violent or the most problematic, off the streets so that they cannot continue to pose a risk to our community members.

Brian Miller is the Sheriff of Mecosta County.


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