The finding of a recent civil grand jury in Los Angeles holds no particular sway when it comes to changing policy. It does reinforce the claims of critics who say current police high-speed chase practices in Los Angeles County pose an unnecessary death and injury risk to innocent bystanders. It’s an issue that has been getting attention for a while. Indeed, we wrote about it last year on this blog.
The foundation of that previous post was a Los Angeles Times report that noted that 2015 was the worst year of the previous 10 for the number of injuries suffered by everyday people as a result of police car chases. As is the case whenever recklessness or negligence is a factor, victims or their loved ones have a right to seek compensation for suffering endured – physical, emotional and financial.
Training Lacking and Policies Too Loose
The earlier LA Times report contributed to the grand jury examination of both the Los Angeles Police Department and L.A. County Sheriff’s Department policies regarding high-speed chases. What the panel concluded is that current policies in both departments come up short. It says sheriff’s deputies are undertrained and that LAPD policy allowing chases are so loose that bystander deaths and injuries are higher than anywhere else in the state.
This year alone, Sheriff’s Department data indicates deputies have been involved in 318 chases that have resulted in one civilian death and nine injuries.
Sheriff’s Department officials say they agree better training is needed and they say allocations for that have been made. The LAPD claims changes in pursuit policy have been in the works since 2015. However, they reportedly remain under negotiation with the police union and action is still pending. Meanwhile, experts note that the LAPD policies are perhaps the most permissive in the state.
While nonbinding, the forewoman of the grand jury says she and others on the panel hope the report sparks significant improvements for the sake of people just going about their daily lives.