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Fri., March 25, 2011

Pursuit critique oversimplified

Steve Berde’s letter of March 19 (“Pursuits aren’t worth it”) states that the police should not engage in pursuits, asking the question, “Is it worth it?”

I imagine that the answer to that question depends on your point of view. Was it worth it in the case that he brought up where the offender turned out to have a suspended license, no insurance, evading a policeman, and (presumably) whatever action caused law enforcement to attempt to stop him in the first place? Probably not.

However, what if the results were changed? What if instead of a suspended license and no insurance the driver had a 6-year-old neighbor and a handgun? Would it be worth damaging two patrol cars and having two officers sustain injury? I suspect Mr. Berde would have a different take on that incident, especially if the child involved was his.

It is all too easy to say that the results were not worth it, but how are the officers supposed to know this as the events are happening? Shouldn’t they expect the worst when a suspect makes a run for it during a simple traffic stop?

Ken Bester

Spokane Valley

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