Number of Police Pursuits, Fatalities Decrease

HARRISBURG – Both the number of police pursuits in Pennsylvania and the number of people killed in those pursuits dropped last year, State Police Commissioner Jeffrey B. Miller announced.

Miller said law-enforcement agencies in Pennsylvania reported that they were involved in 2,115 vehicle pursuits in 2006 compared to 2,215 in 2005. The number of deaths resulting from those pursuits dropped from 13 in 2005 to 12 last year, he said.

The statistics are contained in the 2006 Pennsylvania Police Pursuit Report, which is compiled by State Police. The report can be accessed on the state police Web site, , at the Pursuit Reporting link under the PSP Services category.

Other information from the 2006 report:
• All 12 of the individuals killed as the result of pursuit crashes last year were in the vehicles being pursued. During 2005, 10 fleeing drivers and
three persons not involved in the chases were killed.

• A total of 697 of the pursuits resulted in crashes; 218 pursuits resulted in crashes with injuries; 1,485 pursuits resulted in the apprehension
of the fleeing motorist, and 570 pursuits were discontinued by the pursuing officer.

• Nearly half of all the pursuits (1,008) were initiated because of traffic violations, including speeding. The other most common reasons for
police to initiate pursuits were stolen or suspected stolen vehicles (363); felony criminal offenses (297), and driving under the influence or suspected DUI (247).

Under state law, every police department in the state must have a written emergency vehicle-response policy governing procedures under which an officer should initiate, continue or terminate a pursuit. By law, the policies are confidential.

The Vehicle Code defines a pursuit as an “attempt by a police officer operating a motor vehicle to apprehend one or more occupants of a vehicle when the driver of the vehicle is resisting the apprehension by maintaining or increasing his speed or by ignoring the police officer’s audible or visual signal to stop.”

Since 1996, the Vehicle Code has required State Police to compile pursuit reports and provide an annual report to the legislature.

Police agencies in Pennsylvania report their pursuit data directly to the state police through the Pennsylvania Police Pursuit Reporting System, which is an Internet-based system maintained by the State Police Bureau of Research and Development.

Cpl. Christopher Bendl, the department’s police pursuit coordinator, said the report is designed to provide statistical information to police agencies to help them evaluate their pursuit policies. The report does not attempt to explain increases or decreases in any of the categories and does not break down the statistics by department, he said.

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