Chase Or Not To Chase?

By: Brittany Gunter
By: Brittany Gunter

We’ve seen it on TV and the movies. A driver speeds past an officer and the officer gives chase, but high speed chases don’t just happen on the big screen. They happen in real life.

According to the North Carolina Highway Patrol troopers were involved in 362 high speed chases in our state in 2010.

1st Sgt. Jeff Gordon says, “We are going to stop people or try to stop people that are just not going to stop and they’re going to flee and we are going to try and get them stopped the best they can.”

Gordon says there are risks. He says, “Any time you’re engaged in a pursuit there is always an element of danger.”

Danger for the officer, the person being chased and others in the area.

1st Sgt. Ray Snead says, “We are dealing with lives here and property.”

Out of the 362 chases in 2010, 268 suspects were apprehended. There were 29 collisions, 10 3rd party injuries, 1 3rd party fatality, and 4 violators killed.

Officers often have just a split second to decide whether to pursue or not. That’s why troopers say training for high speed chases is so important.

Snead says, “We aren’t out there looking for pursuits, they are going to happen people are going flee from law enforcement and we want to be trained the best we can to handle these pursuits that we are involved in."

One of the best tracks in the country for that type of training is in Raleigh. It’s where many officers in Eastern Carolina go to train.

Officers say they try to make situations on the track as realistic as possible.

Snead says when he is pursuing a vehicle it’s important to remember, “Safety is number one, that’s what you’re thinking about the entire time, safety, but you’re scanning the entire area, taking in the totality of the situation and making good sound judgment decisions.”

Snead says officers also need to look at road conditions, weather, and the amount of traffic in the area. At any moment troopers can disengage the pursuit if there is a safety issue, but officials say it’s also important to remember who they could be letting get away.

Gordon says, “We have stopped people for traffic violations that have just committed a murder or who were wanted in another state.”

According to Gordon a high speed chase occurs most often after troopers have attempted to pull someone over for speeding or suspicion of DWI. They say high speed chases occur more often between 12 a.m. and 4 a.m. and on Saturdays. On average the violator is often the age of 21 to 29.

Gordon says, “We can’t dictate on whether someone determines on whether they want to stop or when they want to flee. The only thing we can do is try to do the best job that we can and basically put our best foot forward and that's what this track is allowing us to do.”

Officials with the Sheriff’s department or police department can also train at the track.

Gordon says he would like for every officer to be able to train every year for high speed chases, but because of budget restraints that isn’t possible.


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Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
  • by Alumni Location: Morehead City on Jul 9, 2011 at 06:09 AM
    Clearly, over the past 2 years, law enforcement officers have demonstrated the skills and competence needed to perform their jobs without putting the public at-risk of harm . . . (YEAH RIGHT) Lets hope while they are driving at 300 mph, they were trained to do so without texting on their phones. Also, it is expensive to keep fuel in those Dodge Chargers some recommend NC LEOs should have. If they HAVE too catch the person right them in order for them to ensure justice is served, maybe they should invest in the gadget that is shot at the car where is slowly quits running. I believe this would be cheaper than investing in Chargers, and/or injuring or killing someone. If you need to go 300 MPH in a high speed chase with other drivers on the road, do us all a favor and call a helicopter to do the job.
  • by Henry Location: Greenville on Jul 7, 2011 at 09:59 PM
    What if your child, or grandmother is killed as the result of a high speed police chase. Family members die all the time due to various reasons. Catching and arresting a bad guy is a thousand times more important than any human life. Life is expendable... catching a criminal is a nonexpendable decision. Most law enforcement officers are trained to maintain control of vehicles at speeds in excess of 300 miles per hour. It is imperative that NC law enforment be provided with vehicles that travel in excess of 300 miles per hour.
  • by Anonymous on Jul 7, 2011 at 07:16 PM
    If you or a family member is hurt or killed as a result of a police chace, let an attorney properly review the matter. Find one away from the location of the incident.
  • by To Really Location: NC on Jul 7, 2011 at 06:57 PM
    Since you seem to be "in the know" on high speed chases and radio's being no good why do they use them to alert other cars in the area? I've yet to hear a chase without radio communication to other units to try and stop the car that is speeding. Just where do you get your facts to support such a statement?
  • by Jeff Location: Goldsboro on Jul 7, 2011 at 06:39 PM
    Everyone should just allow the Troopers to do their jobs. We have the best law enforcement in NC than anywhere else and they are the best trained. They have policies and procedures in place for a reason.
  • by Anonymous on Jul 7, 2011 at 06:24 PM
    Yeah they need additional training. I hear they are pushing the "no chase" policies because they keep wrecking the chargers and do not know how to handle them at high speeds. I don't understand as long as they get a tag number to begin with why they persist in chasing these idiots in the first place endangering more innocent lives on the roadway. Wish I could make a difference, but unfortunatly I am a hardened criminal for a speeding offense I received when I Was 18, and was denied entry. Btw, the cop that pursued me from 10 miles back ended up wrecking his car - I stopped and offered assistance and they punish me! What a country we live in! Pure stupidity if you ask me!
    • reply
      by Billyjoejimbob on Jul 7, 2011 at 06:53 PM in reply to
      They need the Driver, not just the Tag. You have to prove who was behind the wheel........Mr. Model Citizen.
    • reply
      by jerry on Jul 7, 2011 at 07:00 PM in reply to
      A tag number does not identify the driver, especially if the car is stolen. And what do you mean "from ten miles back"? It`s always easy to spot someone who had their wings clipped by an officer, they post nonsense like this.
  • by Nikki Location: Kenansville on Jul 7, 2011 at 06:12 PM
    Curious those are my thoughts exactly. If criminals KNOW they will not be chased then there would be more crimes committed. Also the radios work if there is someone in the area. There are not that many officers in each county because if $.
  • by Really! Location: MHC on Jul 7, 2011 at 06:07 PM
    Radio? Really? Think about this. A trooper meets a car going 85 mph in the other direction. He slows down and turns around. He tries to gain speed on the vehicle. The speeder sees the Trooper turn around and floors it. The Trooper is now about a half mile behind him. Now you don't want the Trooper to speed so he stops and calls ahead to the next officer who just happens to be about a mile ahead. The guy won't stop. The officer can't speed so hour calls ahead to another officer....just how is that radio going to stop a speeding car? Where are all these perfectly positioned officer coming from? A radio has NEVER stopped a fleeing driver and NEVER will! Get real and let the men do their jobs and blame the fools that run!
  • by pete Location: grifton on Jul 7, 2011 at 05:47 PM
    Like breaking a beagle from chasing a rabbit.
  • by radio? on Jul 7, 2011 at 05:31 PM
    its called a radio, why not use it?
    • reply
      by U R Clueless on Jul 7, 2011 at 06:12 PM in reply to radio?
      What are you goin to do with the radio? Throw it at them. Just because you call other troopers doesn't mean they are going to stop. Its not like every other vehicle on the road is law enforcement. Still takes a while for them to catch up. By the way, every chase is called in on the radio.
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