Do Car Chases Make Sense at All?

A few days ago, a high-speed chase between a carjacking suspect and the St. Louis police resulted in a 6-car pileup and 3 hospitalizations. Why is this still a thing?

Before I go into this, I want to say that ideally people wouldn’t commit crimes, and if they do, if they police ask them to pull over, they do. Also, I respect that police are trying to catch someone suspected of committing a crime.

But police are here to protect citizens, right? How are you protecting citizens by speeding down the road in pursuit of another car that is speeding down the road? Does that significantly increase the chances of an innocent bystander being injured or killed?

I’d like to propose 2 solutions that might be possible, given that it’s 2018:

  1. Drones. Remember the aerial footage of the OJ Simpson car chase? You no longer need a helicopter to do that–you just need a drone. If a suspect takes off in a car, police could call a drone into action. It can monitor the car from a safe distance and alert nearby patrols when the suspects park the car.
  2. Satellite. I’m not 100% if this is a thing, and I understand that clouds would probably limit visibility, but if satellites can track objects in real time (like GPS), couldn’t they track a speeding car?

I understand that these solutions are imperfect, but at least they would significantly decrease the chances of civilian casualties. What do you think?


4 Responses to “Do Car Chases Make Sense at All?”

  1. Charles Dionne says:

    I cannot speak for other police departments but my employer has a strict policy of no pursuit if the perpetrator starts putting other lives in danger due to being chased. As soon as the pursuit reaches high speeds or if the suspect starts driving in the opposite lanes or in close proximity to a school, pursuits are immediately called off unless the perpetrator is wanted for homicide and still poses a threat to other individuals. But luckily that hasn’t happened yet since I’ve been employed there!

    I think our department has recently acquired a drone but as far as I know, it cannot be used for pursuits and is better suited for aerial documentation of an outdoor crime scene. Bigger departments likely have bigger budgets than we do and access to better drones. I have yet to hear about satellites being used that way but I assume that would be costly. 🙂

    • Jamey Stegmaier says:

      That’s really good to hear, Charles. That seems like a responsible approach.

      For the drone, I don’t necessarily see it for pursuit (I think a car could outrun a drone). But if it goes 200 fee up in the air, it could keep an eye on the suspect. Maybe? 🙂

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