Hey Toyota. It’s Time To Remove The Prius Police Chase Ads

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UPDATE:

We’re waiting for a more acceptable Toyota USA response to the highly disrespectful Prius #PoliceChase advertising. Jon Farris, Pursuit For Change Chief Advocate, is still attempting to arrange a meeting with the Marketing VP.

Our recent tweet and real-life Prius police chase points to this national problem. “Here’s an example of a dangerous in your Prius. Bad Marketing. Real Life”  

FULL STORY:

MONTPELIER — Thursday morning, police engaged in a vehicle pursuit of a 35-year-old Middlesex man who reportedly burglarized the Skinny Pancake.

At about 8:30 a.m., the Montpelier Police Department says it received a call that the Skinny Pancake, on Main Street, was burglarized. The caller, an employee, had interrupted the burglary in progress, according to a statement issued by police.

Police say the employee confronted a male suspect with a bandana covering his face, who was trying to steal a safe from the restaurant. The suspect then fled the scene in a silver 2006 Toyota Prius.

Police say the employee identified the suspect as Travis McGurran of Middlesex.

At 9:15 a.m., a Montpelier police detective located the suspect vehicle in Montpelier, according to the statement. McGurran then led police on a vehicle pursuit through the city and into Berlin. The chase ended on Rowell Hill Road in Berlin.

The pursuit lasted about 15 minutes said Montpelier Police Chief Anthony Facos. He said it was a high-speed chase at some points, and defined it in an interview Friday as dangerous.

McGurran was taken into custody at that location with the assistance of Berlin police.

Police say McGurran was found to be in possession of a substance believed to be heroin. There was also evidence of crack cocaine in the vehicle, according to the statement.

At Wednesday evening’s City Council meeting, Facos restated a point he has been making for more a year. Addiction, he said, fuels nearly all burglaries and robberies in the area.

“Part of the reason we need to get people off addiction, particularly heroin or opiate addiction is because it is directly related to the spikes in our burglaries,” he said. “I don’t like coming here every other week saying ‘Yup, all the burglaries and robberies are because of addiction.’”

Facos has been rethinking law enforcement’s approach of helping addicts get treatment. In March, Facos announced a new initiative for Montpelier Police called Project Safe Catch. The aim of the effort is for addicts to be able to ask police for help. If an addict comes into the station or approaches a police officer in the capital city requesting addiction treatment help, the police will act as a pathway to assist them.

Facos calls this root-cause problem solving.

“We came up with something based on a proven model in Massachusetts and Maine,” he said.

Facos said right now Montpelier PD and Barre PD are working to receive a three-year smart policing grant that would bring a task force and more police intelligence to the area. Addiction would be a focus if the grant is received.

“What that will do is also provide us a much bigger intelligence-led effort to make sure we are maximizing our resources, and part of that is also looking at any reductions of crime,” he said.

On Friday, Facos said Thursday’s burglary and chase were consistent with the drug and crime problem he has been seeing.

McGurran was arraigned in Washington County criminal court Thursday morning on the charges of burglary, attempting to elude and driving with a suspended license. He pleaded not guilty. McGurran was lodged at the Northeast Regional Correctional Facility for lack of $1,000 bail.

gina.tron @timesargus.com

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