A Horrible Call
by Jonathan Farris, Chief Advocate, Pursuit For Change
It’s a 2016 holiday weekend – Thanksgiving to be exact. And your kids and grandchild will be at your house very soon.
But now it’s an hour after they were supposed to arrive. You’ve called their cell phones, but the calls go straight to voicemail. I wonder where they could be?
For the families of David Lee Bianco and his fiancee Kaylie Meininger and their young daughter, they will scream and cry when they receive ‘the call’ from authorities, telling them their son, their daughter, and their granddaughter are all dead.
The pain is unimaginable. The heartache is unbearable. And the question “WHY?” will be asked over and over and over again.
I wish I could ease their pain, but I cannot. And for these families and their friends, Thanksgiving will forever be a time of sorrow and not celebration.
Over and over and over again this story plays out. Innocent people, simply going about their lives, are killed by someone who decides to flee from law enforcement.
And over and over and over again law enforcement chases. In the case of violent felonies, perhaps there are no other means to catch the perpetrator.
But in the case of non-violent felons, known criminals, or those committing misdemeanor violations such as speeding or an illegal u-turn, there are thousands of pursuits. Some statistics indicate more than 80 percent of police chases are for non-violent actions by the person running.
Are there other means for catching bad guys while not putting citizens at risk? The answer is a resounding YES!
We need more law enforcement agencies to tighten up their pursuit policies – generally limiting chases to all but violent felonies. We need for law enforcement to have significantly more driver training, because unlike weapons training, behind-the-wheel or in-simulator driving simply isn’t practiced enough. And we need law enforcement to begin to use more pursuit reduction technology, allowing them to apprehend criminals without engaging in pursuits that endanger innocent bystanders and the officers themselves. We simply must reduce the thousands and thousands of chases occurring annually.
You may not agree with me, and I get that. But if YOU were the family who received THAT CALL, I suspect your opinion would change.
image from Pittsburg Post-Gazette