Attorney General’s Committee studies law enforcement pursuits

There is a question that comes up from time to time in discussions with law enforcement officers and just citizens in general. Is there a set rule as to when law enforcement should pursue and when they shouldn’t?

Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine announced Thursday the formation of the Attorney General’s Advisory Group on law enforcement vehicular pursuits.

DeWine created the group to examine the issue of law enforcement pursuits, and to identify or create a model vehicle pursuit policy that can be used by law enforcement agencies across the state.

The first meeting of the group was held Thursday.

“Every year, people die in crashes on Ohio’s roads after drivers flee police and many of those killed are innocent bystanders in the wrong place at the wrong time,” DeWine said. “This advisory group will take an in-depth look at pursuits to determine best practices.”

According to data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, at least 352 people, including one Ohio police officer and 147 bystanders, were killed in law enforcement pursuits in Ohio between 1982 and 2014.

“I see this as a continuation of the attorney general’s efforts to ensure that Ohio law enforcement is receiving the highest quality training for officers. Motor vehicle pursuits are one of the most dangerous activities that officers can become involved in during their duty,” Portsmouth Police Chief Robert Ware said. “Solid policy, sound judgement and continuous training are critical to the safety of officers and the public when someone decides not to comply with an officer’s attempt to stop them. It is important to continuously review practices and training to ensure that all agencies are well trained and prepared to engage in one of the most dangerous law enforcement activities.”

By Frank Lewis

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Reach Frank Lewis at 740-353-3101, ext. 1928, or on Twitter @franklewis.

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