High Speed Chase

Contact Lance Cayko
Cell 303.775.7406
Email CommunicationsDirector@LPColorado.org
Website www.LPColorado.org



Shortly after midnight on Friday, March 30, a driver in a Mustang was observed driving at a high rate of speed coming out of Glenwood Canyon, westbound on I-70. Police attempted to chase, but could not keep up and gave up.

They made the correct choice to end their pursuit.

On the other hand, at 140 mph the state patrol was irresponsible for even initiating pursuit: It immediately made the Mustang driver speed up. It also made him cease slowing down when passing other vehicles (which several witnesses said he did prior to the pursuit). This author travels that section of I-70 often, and does not look forward to getting creamed from behind because some hotshoe wanted an adrenaline rush for chasing a leadfoot.

High-speed police pursuits often end in disaster, and way too often the ones who pay are innocent bystanders. Beginning a police chase is almost always an unnecessary escalation of an already-dangerous situation, and it isn’t just the suspects who became a danger to innocents: the police traveling at high speed are likewise a direct danger.

A better solution might have been to attempt to clear the road in front of the Mustang, and turn on the message boards and the emergency alert system to cell phones in the area warning other drivers ahead that a dangerous driver is approaching them at high speed from behind and urge them to exit the highway at the earliest opportunity to minimize possible casualties.

Government police are currently trained to react to every threat in an adrenaline-soaked, immediate escalation, aggressive manner. That needs to end.

De-escalation and patience saves lives.

The Libertarian Party of Colorado calls on government police to ensure that we stop hearing about the disasters that follow police chases. To that end, we call for the following reforms:

  • Eliminate the adrenaline training and replace it with de-escalation and patience training
  • Promote the acceptance among officers of the concept that you “can’t outrun a radio”
  • Require officers to never knowingly deflect risks from themselves onto the civilian population

Further, The Libertarian Party of Colorado calls on police to be held to full accountability:

  • a) eliminate police union rules which make it very hard to dismiss bad or overly aggressive officers
  • b) eliminate the doctrine of “qualified immunity” which makes it virtually impossible for officers to be held civilly liable for misdeeds committed on the job
  • c) eliminate the enormous deference given to officers by judges, prosecutors, and police department administrations
  • d) require all officers to carry liability insurance to cover acts while employed

There are of course many reasons why a person might believe an attempt at a high-speed exit strategy is preferable to being caught — and often those reasons have to do with the penalizing culture of victimless crimes. A speeding ticket can easily be turned into life in prison if you happen to be carrying anything on the ever-lengthening list of prohibitions (guns, drugs, gambling paraphernalia, a prostitute, and so on); or if one is wanted for a serious crime.

A person looking at the possibility of a long prison sentence will compare that risk against the risk of a crash, and may feel compelled to take the chance at escape.

There is no private insurance company in the world that would offer liability coverage to a private individual for conducting a high-speed chase of even a violent criminal; and if that private individuals chase ended in the death of an innocent, he would be charged with a crime, much less be held civilly liable. There is no royalty in this country and thus individuals who are employed by government must be held to the exact same standard as a private individual would be.

No cowboy logic justifies high-speed chases. Under the best of conditions they are unnecessarily dangerous. The Colorado State Patrol’s decision to deescalate should be emulated by all government police agencies as a matter of policy.

The only possible exceptions to outright banning high-speed chases should be extraordinary situations (eg a known violent criminal is shooting at other people on the road as he passes them).


Further reading:

Responsible police officers *end* chases all the time:
“Every day police across America terminate high speed pursuits of real criminals when the danger of the situation outweighs the interest of immediate “justice.” It is a proper, well-reasoned response to the reality of the situation. No one would infer you now supported that criminal… Incidents where police deescalate are prudent and do not tarnish the “rule of law.” In fact they serve to burnish the professionalism of Peace Officers” ( www.libertarianinstitute.org/justice/police-standing-rock-stand/)

A death a day: www.usatoday.com/story/news/2015/07/30/police-pursuits-fatal-injuries/30187827/

Abolish Licensure, Prohibition, Checkpoints and Chases: freevirginia.blogspot.com/2010/04/abolish-licensure-prohibition.html

If you would like more information about this topic, please contact Lance Cayko at 303.775.7406 or email at CommunicationsDirector@LPColorado.org.

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