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Pursuit policy unlikely to change in Burbank

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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.

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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%

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of that agency’s pursuits ended in traffic collisions, some of them

fatal.

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

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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

and burglary.

In 2001, local police engaged in 13 pursuits. Three of them re-

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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

said.


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