Despite the Los Angeles Police Commission’s controversial vote to
curtail police pursuits prompted solely by traffic infractions, it’s
unlikely Burbank Police will pursue something similar.
Earlier this month, the Los Angeles Police Commission voted
unanimously to prohibit LAPD officers from most vehicle pursuits that
arise from traffic infractions, like speeding and not stopping at a
stop sign. LAPD statistics show that from 1999 to 2001, almost 40%
of that agency’s pursuits ended in traffic collisions, some of them
Here, the pursuit of a suspect can continue until the officer
decides it is unsafe or a supervisor calls it off. A police
helicopter can continue the pursuit in lieu of a patrol unit.
So far, there’s been no need for as broad a change as the one in
Los Angeles, officials said.
“We just haven’t experienced that high a number of chases in the
city,” Burbank Police Commissioner William Smith said. “It hasn’t
become an issue.”
Last year, 17 pursuits began in the city. Of those, six ended in
traffic accidents, and in two of them, the suspects were injured.
Eight of the chases were for traffic violations and nine for felonies
or other misdemeanors such as hit and run, drunken driving, robbery
In 2001, local police engaged in 13 pursuits. Three of them re-
sulted in traffic accidents, with no injuries. How far police go in a
pursuit depends on the level of suspected crime and other factors.
“If it’s 3 p.m. at the corner of Glenoaks Boulevard and Harvard
Road and school’s getting out, we’re going to take that into
consideration,” Dilibert said.
Although the policy has been changed on occasion, it hasn’t been
amended for several years.
“I think we’re missing the point if we are focusing only on the
police and not on suspects who turn their car into a 4,000-pound
guided missile fleeing down the street,” Deputy Chief Larry Koch