More than a thousand people have been injured in the past five years during police pursuits, and half of those injuries were sustained by innocent bystanders, according to a new report on police chases in Los Angeles.
In 2023 to date, seven people have been injured and three have died during police pursuits, according to the Los Angeles Police Department’s Pursuit Injuries Report.
“Clearly we don’t take that lightly,” said LAPD Commander Craig Valenzuela.
The Board of Commissioners requested more data after two fatal pursuits in the San Fernando Valley earlier this year. However, Chief Michel Moore is not ready to make immediate changes to the department’s pursuit policy, Commander Valenzuela confirmed.
“He doesn’t want a policy that fully limits officers from chasing because we do have a responsibility to make arrests,” he said.
The new data also reveals that there were 4,203 pursuits from January 2018 to March 30 this year in response to stolen vehicles, driving under the influence and reckless driving. That equates to more than two pursuits every day, on average.
Among those pursuits, more than 1,000 resulted in a collision that injured or killed innocent bystanders.
The department is considering some changes to the pursuit policy, including new technology that would allow officers to live stream the pursuit to incident commanders, broadcast their speed, and reduce the number of police cars involved in the pursuit.
These changes will hopefully help keep bystanders safe during a pursuit, but Commander Valenzuela says the best way to protect bystanders is for the suspects to surrender and pull over.
“We have persons who are wanted for carjacking, murder, DUI, running from the police and if they wouldn’t run, the likelihood of any injury would obviously stop,” he said.