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 firstname.lastname@example.org.