Deputies from the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office are involved in a couple of speed chases per week, as referenced in the front page story today. That will likely continue until state legislators toughen up current laws.

Law enforcement officials talked this week about the dangers of police pursuits. Lt. Craig Holcomb, of the sheriff’s office, remembers a chase that began in South Pittsburg, Tennessee and ended in Rainsville, in DeKalb County, resulting in two deaths.

Interim Scottsboro Police Chief Ron Latimer remembers the time, during a pursuit, his vehicle was rammed by the suspect vehicle.

Police pursuits are dangerous for all involved, and those not involved. While some police departments have “no pursuit’ policies, that invites those who don’t want to be stopped by police officers.

Yet, even with no policy, officers and deputies have no authority once a suspect is caught. That person will be charged with a misdemeanor and pay a fine.

Chief Deputy Rocky Harnen, of the sheriff’s office, remembers getting a chase with a suspect on more than one occasion.

Harnen believes the laws need to be tougher, such as a mandatory jail sentence for someone found guilty of fleeing to elude.

He’s right. Spending some time in jail will curb police pursuits. It will make someone think twice about running.

DeWayne Patterson is the editor and publisher of The Sentinel. He can be reached by email to 

(1) comment

Just Curious

There should be tougher laws...chasing a person and causing his or her death simply because they are thought to have drugs for instance. If the person is known to them, go close to their home and wait. It would and is sad for a person to lose life and possibly nothing to be found after death of the person. Murder suspects, felons with active warrants for dangerous acts to others, ex. Child molesters, murder, rape, etc can be acceptable. Yes, the laws need changing.

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.