PSP Reports Pursuits Drop 9 Percent

HARRISBURG – Law enforcement officers in Pennsylvania went on nearly 200 fewer vehicle pursuits in 2007 announced State Police Commissioner Jeffrey B. Miller.

Officers were involved in 1,931 vehicle pursuits during the year, a decrease of nearly 9 percent from the 2,115 reported pursuits the previous year.

Miller said 13 individuals being pursued by police were killed in related crashes last year, which was one more than the prior year.

The statistics are contained in the 2007 Pennsylvania Police Pursuit Report, which is compiled by State Police and can be accessed through the Police Pursuit Reporting System.

Other information from the 2007 report:

· No police or uninvolved persons were killed as the result of pursuits in 2007 or 2006.

· 652 of the pursuits resulted in crashes, with 218 of those crashes resulting in injuries.

· Nearly half of all the pursuits (943) were initiated because of traffic violations, including speeding. The other most common reasons for police to initiate pursuits were stolen or suspected stolen vehicles (296); felony criminal offenses (289), and driving under the influence or suspected DUI (234).

· 1,387 pursuits resulted in the apprehension of the fleeing motorist.

“Under state law, every police department in Pennsylvania must have a written emergency vehicle-response policy governing procedures under which an officer should initiate, continue or terminate a pursuit,” Miller said. “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 and publish pursuit reports.

Police agencies in Pennsylvania report their pursuit data directly to 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 and to help identify training successes and deficiencies. The report does not attempt to explain increases or decreases in any of the categories and does not break down the statistics by department, municipality or county, he said.

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