|Why the Lawrence Kansas pursuit
policy is a joke
The purpose of Police Policy is to provide police officers with a clear statement of how they are expected to perform their duties. It is the duty of every officer to study and have a working knowledge of all department policy. Not only does good policy communicate precisely to the officers the will of the department, it protects the officers from being second-guessed as long as they follow policy. Police Policy also serves as an instrument of accountability of the department to the citizens it serves. Police departments are controlled by the citizens, either by election of sheriffs or chiefs, or their appointment by elected officials. Therein lies the importance of well-written and well-researched policy.
Most experts who study how police agencies do their jobs agree that in most areas officers, and departments, should have wide discretion in how they do their jobs. There are three areas, however, that they agree that much less discretion should be allowed:
Emergency Vehicle Operations (this includes pursuit)
Use of Force
Use of Deadly Force
It is not hard to understand why these three areas are differentiated. They are the most high adrenaline, high risk, high mortality and high liability areas of police work. It only stands to reason that in these areas departments must carefully consider and clearly communicate how decisions are to be made, and what the consequent actions and outcomes are.
This is precisely where the Lawrence Kansas pursuit policy fails. What follows is a list of some of the more serious problems.
This list is not comprehensive, but mearly points out some of the more glaring problems. I would refer the reader to:
This is the model policy from The International Association of Chiefs of Police and serves for a guideline for many policies around the U. S.
Lt. David Cobb and Chief Ron Olin responded that my earlier comments were made without knowing their training and therefore I was not in the position to comment on the policy. This is simply not true. You train to the policy, not the other way around.
Since the Lawrence Police Department puts so much faith in their training it would be very interesting to view their training materials on pursuit/pursuit decision-making and to find out how much time, and how often, they train. The rule of thumb is: The more subjective and discretionary the policy the more exhaustive the training must be.
It is obvious that since the changes made to the Lawrence policy after the study of a number of other policies (addition of 4.23 Section G discussed above, and the changing of a couple of other words) were so clearly superficial that the study was predetermined to rubber-stamp an already anemic Lawrence policy.
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