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High Speed Pursuit in Houston

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FlashSWT

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CNN/HN is showing live coverage right now (7/21/06 @ 4:15 PM) of a high speed pursuit in Houston/Pasadena/Pearland. Are there any live streams online to listen in to HPD and their helicopter?
 

225Texas

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It was one of the most boring chases in the Houston area, that I have ever listened to. Thankfully no one got hurt. The driver was taken into custody without incident.
 

FlashSWT

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Haha, I just figured it would be interesting to listen to while watching it live on CNN. How long did he just sit in the water before finally giving up? CNN cut away once their prime time shows came on.
 

225Texas

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He sat in the water for about 90 minutes. During that time, he threatened to kill himself with a pistol he had. He finally gave up and surrendered. Could of avoided the spikes, if he had a scanner! 
 

SCPD

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I watched it from about start to finish. It was pretty boring. Then when it ended he threatened to shoot himself. What did he think, if you do let me go I'm going to blow my head off? Give me a break.
 

Reloader

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Living here in Livingston, hOME OF DEATH ROW, the chases are now becoming an entry requirement in TDC, I was told by a guard. It seems to have gotten to be an entry tool to a gang Behind bARS.
tHE LONGER AND BLODDIER, THE MORE PRESTIGE IS ACCORDED THE INMATES.
 

Tim-in-TX

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Would have been over sooner, with less property damage done, if Houston had not changed their pursuit policy. I know this started in Pasadena (not sure what their pursuit policy is), but Houston was involved several times. If units had been allowed to get closer, there was several times when he was on back roads, at slower speeds, where the PIT maneuver would have worked. This chase is proof that the new policy does not work. Police had backed off hoping the subject would slow down (per new policy), therefore he should drive less dangerous. However, this proved to be untrue. He drove just as fast and just as dangerous even when there was no unit to be seen.

Also, why did it take so long for DPS to get involved? I watched the chase for about 45 min to an hour, and I did not see any DPS until near the end.

**Sorry for the soapbox rant. I just have a problem with weak policies regarding pursuit. If you don't know why someone is running, then I can see backing off a little. But this guy was an ARMED ROBBER who SHOT AT AN OFFICER. There is little-to-no excuse for backing off a pursuit such as that. There I go ranting again! Sorry guys.
 

RenMan51

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Tim-in-TX said:
**Sorry for the soapbox rant. I just have a problem with weak policies regarding pursuit. If you don't know why someone is running, then I can see backing off a little. But this guy was an ARMED ROBBER who SHOT AT AN OFFICER. There is little-to-no excuse for backing off a pursuit such as that. There I go ranting again! Sorry guys.
Personally, I think the only reason a cruiser should chase anyone is to give the air unit time to get there. Then the cruiser should back off and let units in front of the chase set up roadblocks.
 

bpckty1

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Police Chase

A good/bad real-time test of a (the bad guy's) vehicle's sturdiness.
I wonder how many Chevy Extended Cab Pickup Trucks were bought following the chase?
I understand that the sales of Class C RVs went up following the California Highway Patrol's chasing one through the desert a few years ago.
 

red8

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hey guys
i used to be a cop and i have been in hot pursuits i have even chased
an armed robber from one parish (county) to another and the one
thing they might out run that patrol car but they can not out run
that radio!!!! i have even been in some we had to back off or break
pursuit due to person being wanted for minor charge i know it hurts
but think of the many officers that died in these ordeals when all they
had to do is radio ahead.that is why i do not police anymore
too much political correctness and all that other you know what
red8
red8
 

bpckty1

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"the one thing they might out run that patrol car but they can not out run
that radio!!!!"

I heard the same comment many years ago at Benning School for Boys when the owner of a Mustang told an MP that he could outrun the MP's Jeep.

;^>
 

FreqGirl

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The statistics in the after action reports around the country are starting to prove that the suspects do NOT slow down after the police disengage their cars and let the helicopters follow them.
What it does open you to is liability if the car goes on and hits someone. Then the question is why did you NOT have a car there to warn the coming traffic, with all of it's lights and sirens, that this guy was a hazard that you knew about.
 

Jay911

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RenMan51 said:
Personally, I think the only reason a cruiser should chase anyone is to give the air unit time to get there. Then the cruiser should back off and let units in front of the chase set up roadblocks.
Agreed. (Excuse my foray into Texas, ya'll)

To the poster who said that the police should be chasing in order to "give notice" to people ahead of the situation that the fleeing car is there, I get the impression that you don't have much experience in this. Both as a "regular citizen" driver and an emergency services operator, I have experienced the reaction to use of lights & sirens from both ends of the equation, and I believe other emergency responders will back me up in saying that most people either don't see or hear the emergency vehicle until it's far too late, or they ignore it outright. Besides, the police officer would be behind the pursued vehicle (by definition), so the reckless chasee is going to get to any given point much sooner than the police vehicle will - so it's not much of an early warning system at all.

I also question the benefit of the PIT maneuver. I have seen plenty of times where it's worked, but I do remember a rather vivid video of a police vehicle attempting a PIT because the pursuee was entering a school zone, so he did it when it wasn't a good time to do so - and caused the pursuee to strike an innocent's vehicle, heavily damaging it and sending him across three lanes of oncoming traffic; PLUS, the police vehicle spun out of control and slammed sideways into a tree.

I wholeheartedly agree with helicopters taking the primary role in a pursuit. In fact, I've often wondered why police services have not yet armed their aircraft. I know that may seem a little much, but especially in a rural or open-area setting, a couple 20mm rounds into an engine block would very efficiently end the vehicular part of any pursuit.

As far as I'm concerned, the kind of cretins who genuinely run from the police don't deserve any better treatment than that.. and the kids who do it "'cause they're scared" (as you hear so often) would learn very quickly to stop being so stupid.

Apologies for the semi-hijack of the thread...
 

FreqGirl

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So what is better..a shortly delayed warning or no warning at all?
You obviously know that they still run in the absence of police cars with the helicopter following, based on your post.
You obviously cannot shoot at a not actively violent offender. That scenario would be a dream set-up for the TVI/PIT. The bad TVI was, possibly, a less than ideal location decision by the lead officer. It was better than racing through the school zone, however. Better an accident than a child fatality though, so maybe not a poor decision at all. Swallow a child fatality on national television and that officer would have been crucified for not ending it earlier.
 
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SCPD

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Jay said:
Agreed. (Excuse my foray into Texas, ya'll)
Welcome Jay. Funny you should mention the helicopter armament. I'm waiting for someone to deploy spikes via chopper. Bombs away!

FreqGirl said:
The statistics in the after action reports around the country are starting to prove that the suspects do NOT slow down after the police disengage their cars and let the helicopters follow them.
Hi Freq-girl; what are the stats on that?

What it does open you to is liability if the car goes on and hits someone. Then the question is why did you NOT have a car there to warn the coming traffic, with all of it's lights and sirens, that this guy was a hazard that you knew about.
As Jay points out ... most drivers don't see the lights and sirens until the emergency vehicle is right on top of them. By that time, the pursuee has already blown by. One vehicle passing through an area at high speed is bad. Adding one or two more - no matter how skilled the drivers - is worse.

Citing liability cuts both ways. If your actions are interpreted as negligence - you're liable. Trouble is your decision could be viewed as endangering bystanders or endangering your employees. The surviving spouse of a dead patrol officer has just as much right to sue over bad policy.

Consider terrain. Houston is as flat as a pancake ... flash floods (and flash drains) in no time. You can look down Westheimer Boulevard and see more than a mile ahead. The pursuer can loose some distance and still see the target. The terrain in other parts of the state is more rugged - you don't have line-of-sight more than 100 yards. Top the hill at much more than 30 and your tires leave the ground. Worse - there's someone walking or riding a bike on the other side of that hill - and they can't hear or see you until you're (literally) right on top of them.

So what is better..a shortly delayed warning or no warning at all?
I appreciate your eagerness. Give the cop on the street the ability to actually DO something. I have to respond with that answer that everyone hates ... "it depends on the situation." You take risks and sometimes you loose. Going back to the school zone example - the spin-out from the PIT could have just as easily resulted in a vehicle hitting some one as some thing.

There was time in H-town a decade or so ago that motorcycle cops were getting killed in high-speed pursuits at an alarming rate. Someone made a policy change and the problem ceased. Maybe someone can come up with a more flexible policy ... stay tuned.

-rick
 

Jay911

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FreqGirl said:
So what is better..a shortly delayed warning or no warning at all?
No warning at all, because a "shortly delayed warning" is pointless. It'd be like putting the horns and whistles on the trailing end of a train instead of the head end. What good is alerting people to a danger that's already past?

FreqGirl said:
You obviously know that they still run in the absence of police cars with the helicopter following, based on your post.
I dispute your claim that all pursuees continue regardless of whether or not they are being followed on the ground. I have seen exactly the opposite in the city in which I live now. It obtained a police helicopter and changed its policies years ago, after a member trying to lay out a spike belt was struck and killed (quite gruesomely - there was more than one "yellow blanket" required) by a fleeing criminal. The police helicopter takes primary on every pursuit now, and invariably, the pursuits end with much less damage and, to date, zero loss of life (with the exception of one pursuee who died when he lost control of his vehicle). In fact, most offenders stop and give up when they realize the aircraft is in position. Granted, this is far from a "pursuit capital of the world" locale, and chases are infrequent, but the fact remains that reducing the number of cars speeding through streets and highways has drastically cut down on deaths, injuries, and property damage.

FreqGirl said:
You obviously cannot shoot at a not actively violent offender.
My opinion is that a person driving at grossly excessive speeds with no concern for other users of the road and/or the laws that govern the roads, is one of the most violent offenders out there.

FreqGirl said:
It was better than racing through the school zone, however. Better an accident than a child fatality though, so maybe not a poor decision at all.
First of all, I want to point out that I'm aware of how much these pursuit shows like World's Wildest Police Videos dumb down, over-exaggerate, and mis-interpret video and other recordings they show. They outright lie in many cases, such as claiming that the offender "tried to jump out of the car" in a particularly famous video where a car bouncing thru a ditch partially ejects the driver when the door pops open due to damage. I make this point because the earlier point, in my earlier post, about the school zone, was only ever mentioned by the narrator on the pursuit show. There's no way for the viewer to know if the officer in pursuit was actually thinking about the school zone, or saw what he thought was a good opportunity and took it, or just got frustrated and rammed the pursuee.

I have my doubts that a child would have definitely died had the pursuit carried through the "school zone". I rarely see children playing on six-lane divided highways, even in school zones. And considering this pursuit had gone on for quite some time, passing houses, crosswalks, and surely other school zones, I doubt the risk was any greater at that moment than any other time previous to that.

The video has been shown internationally and quite clearly indicates that the PIT was done at a time when it was not safe to do so. Besides the fact that the officer did not maintain control over his vehicle (illustrated by the violent impact the car took against the tree after the PIT), it was done in moderate to dense traffic, and resulted in damage to a civilian vehicle and possibly injuries to its occupants, not to mention the incredible risk of further damage and injuries when that vehicle was sent careening across the oncoming traffic lanes. The city and/or police department are going to be indebted to the occupants of that civilian vehicle for a long time to come, and the very first thing that need to be done is no aggressive tactics with other traffic present, period.

FreqGirl said:
Swallow a child fatality on national television and that officer would have been crucified for not ending it earlier.
This seems incongruous with the rest of your argument. You advocate stopping the pursuit here, lest a child be injured; yet in the rest of your post, you call for ground pursuit to be maintained, to provide some kind of warning after the danger has already gone past.

I still maintain that the best vehicle for maintaining a pursuit has rotor blades. Just because criminals (in your opinion) don't lessen their risks taken once the helicopter is in the air, is no reason to lessen "our" (police's) risks by taking the half-dozen other speeding cars out of the equation. You won't be able to convince me otherwise.

rfmobile said:
Funny you should mention the helicopter armament. I'm waiting for someone to deploy spikes via chopper. Bombs away!
I'm thinking James Bond all of a sudden. :) And while it might seem a little too "sci-fi"-y for me to say so, if not a Vulcan cannon, we're getting close to the technology (IMO) where an aircraft might be able to disable a vehicle in other ways.. perhaps a focused EM pulse, some kind of sticky goo, etc. I saw a marking weapon being showcased on a sci-tech show recently that uses some kind of modified shotgun to 'tag' a car with a tracking device contained in an adhesive mix. Mark a car with that and everybody pulls back and waits for the ping on the computer screen to stop moving, and then surround and conquer. :)
 

Tim-in-TX

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After reading some of the posts, several opinions and ideas raised that I had not completely thought about, all of which, have merit.
To chase or not to chase. Both sides have compelling arguments and neither is wrong or right. I guess it would also make a difference if the Dep. had a Helo or not.

I'm just glad I'm not the one that has to make the decision...one way or the other.
 

freqscout

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hmmm..interesting information by all indeed.
Here where I am from the helicopter does take over the pursuit if it goes on scene of the pursuit. The exception is if the offender is a violent felon (other than traffic related), then the officers maintain position in the pursuit because the offender is dangerous beyond his driving (for example: a murderer, bank robber, active shooter, etc.). A majority of the time the offenders are continuing on at high rates of speed despite the lack of police cars present but that is not always the case.
The officer in every circumstance has to judge by "reasonableness" based on information known by the officer at that time (information learned after the fact is irrelevant by state law). Should an officer chase a vehicle because he has a busted tail-light? Probably not if there are lots of other people around.

FreqGirl makes a good point in saying what is worse between possibly endangering a child or ending a pursuit (sounds like what she was trying to say???). The officer must ask himself that question in that circumstance. Sounds like the officer really had the intention of ending the pursuit for the greater safety of the public. It also sounds like that officer made a great call with poor execution. Those are two undeniably separate things. The officer might not have been properly trained or may have had tunnel vision caused by the adrenaline involved in the incident. Something may have even gone wrong during the execution of the PIT with the cars, etc. that the officer did not have control of. Either way, the problem was more with the execution (place, technique, etc.)

Another rule where we are from is that an actively fleeing vehicle is not under any circumstances considered a violent felon based on his speed/running alone even though he is committing a felony by running and placing people in danger, so the violent felon rules do not apply based on the running alone here.

Too bad that officer didn't have a more rural road to apply the pit manuever on because we would not even be talking about him here. They may have even congratulated him.

In the end liability sucks but it does bear a striking resemblance to another big word, responsibility.
 
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