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Readers React: How ‘kill switches’ and police drones could cut back on car chases

Police cars and SWAT vehicles pursue a fleeing motorist on the 710 Freeway.
( Los Angeles Times)

To the editor: How to prevent police chases is an issue from the last century that still bothers us frequently. The problem can surely be handled more efficiently and expeditiously.

Recently, I watched a chase on TV that started in El Cajon and went through Santa Clarita; it included a procession of police vehicles and helicopters. The ordeal ended in the middle of the 5 Freeway because of a mechanical failure or fuel exhaustion.

I suggest that every car registered in California be fitted with a “kill switch” that can be activated by law enforcement. There should be protocols that ensure proper legal protections, such as a warrant issued by a special judge based on the circumstances. The end result would be the same — the car would slowly die and roll to a stop — but law enforcement resources would be preserved and public safety would be enhanced.

Barry Baker, Los Angeles

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To the editor: Car chases in an urban environment are a problem made for drones.

It’s not that drones would apprehend the suspects where police in cars have been unable to. It is that they will make attempted getaways pointless. If police cruisers are known to have drones at the ready, word will quickly spread that evasion is futile.

Siegfried Othmer, Woodland Hills

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To the editor: These events are called “police chases,” thus making police responsible. They should be referred to as “suspect flights.”

It is the suspect unlawfully fleeing police that causes a chase.

Bob Harbicht, Arcadia

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