High speed chases initiated by law enforcement officials have been controversial for decades in the Phoenix area and across the country. On one hand, there is the need for police officers to enforce the law and to prevent offenders from escaping and further threatening the safety of others. On the other hand, high speed chases have proven to have disastrous and often fatal results and, in many cases, those that are injured are bystanders who happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.
According to PursuitSAFETY, a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the road conditions for innocent motorists and police officers, one person is killed every day in America due to a police pursuit. Of those that lose their lives, one-third are innocent bystanders and a police officer is killed in a chase every six weeks. On average, one out of every 100 police chases results in a fatality. These numbers are sobering and they do not begin to touch on the non-fatal injuries that may be caused both to suspects and to innocent drivers and passengers when a police chase occurs. Due in part to the threat they pose to others, many police stations have instituted protocols to reduce the number of chases in which they engage and to stop pursuing fleeing vehicles in some high-risk situations.