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Police Pursuit: Policies and Training, Research in Brief

NCJ Number
Date Published
May 1997
8 pages
Publication Series

A comprehensive NIJ study examined policies and training related to police pursuit driving to determine for what offenses and under what conditions police should risk accidents and injuries to pursue fleeing suspects.


The research gathered information by means of a national survey of police agencies; case studies of more than 1,200 pursuits recorded by the police departments of Miami, Omaha, and Aiken County (S.C.); and surveys and interviews of 779 police officers, 175 supervisors, 160 police recruits before training, 145 of them after training, 555 members of the public in Omaha and Aiken County, and 146 jailed suspects who had been involved as drivers in high-speed chases in the three jurisdictions. Results revealed that most agencies had written policies on pursuit, but many had been implemented in the 1970's. Most of those that had been updated were made more restrictive to control risk. Results indicated that law enforcement personnel and members of the pubic focused on the severity of the offense committed by the suspect when supporting a pursuit. The second most important factor was the risk to the public as defined by traffic, road conditions, and the weather. Findings suggested that policy should focus first on the type of offense and second on risks to the public and that further initial and continuing training is needed on the issues involved. Tables, notes, and 9 references

Date Published: May 1, 1997