Senator Declan O’Scanlon’s resolution urging the State attorney general to launch a study of New Jersey’s guidelines for police pursuits cleared the Law and Public Safety Committee today.
A resolution sponsored by Sen. O’Scanlon calling for a review of the State’s outdated police pursuit policy and study of the proper utilization of emergency lights and sirens advanced today. (Flickr)
The measure (SR153) seeks a review of the vehicular pursuit policy, most recently revised in 2009.
“High speed chases are extremely dangerous, risking the lives of police officers, fleeing suspects, and the innocent, unsuspecting public,” said O’Scanlon (R-13). “We need to establish best practices for police to follow to keep our highways and roads safe without allowing criminals to ignore the laws.”
Under the resolution, the study would prompt recommendations regarding the use of emergency vehicle lights and sirens, and speeding not involving a police chase, important considerations not addressed in the current 10-year-old policy.
“Law enforcement and responders are given a lot of autonomy, and it is well worth considering rules to increase consistency and safety,” O’Scanlon said. “With this study, we can save lives and help the police do their jobs safely and effectively.”
A New Jersey corrections officer died in August when a vehicle driven by a fleeing suspect crashed into his car in Newark. In 2006, a police chase in Cape May County led to a crash that killed two teen-age sisters.
A newspaper report on police chase fatalities, published four years ago, said 187 people died in pursuits in New Jersey since 1979. The statistic was attributed to the Fatality Analysis Reporting System maintained by the National Highway Safety Administration.