Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Police Pursuits In Pennsylvania

Newspaper clippings:

Retired State Police

Association of Pennsylvania Inc.

I understand that there was a debate on your blog relative to police
pursuits. While not seeing this myself, I thought I would send you some
articles gathered relative to police pursuits. While having my own
opinions relative to pursuits, I will not go into any of them. The best
way to prevent pursuits is to punish the offenders so that the it deters
future pursuits.

Chambersburg Public Opinion

3 of 13 Pennsylvania State Police chases that ended in death in 2007
were in
Franklin County By VICKY TAYLOR Staff writer

Police chases capture headlines and catch criminals, but they also can
deaths, as can be seen in recent statistics from Pennsylvania State

Although state police were involved in 9 percent fewer vehicle pursuits
in 2007
than in 2006, pursuit deaths were up from 12 to 13 during the same
according to State Police Commissioner Jeffrey B. Miller.

Three of those fatal pursuits happened in Franklin County.

On March 2, 2007, Benjamin Noonan, 19, was killed after he wrecked the
van he was driving at the southbound Interstate 81 off-ramp. Police said
chase had begun in Cumberland County that day.

On Oct. 15, Kennyetta Edwards, 21, of Fayetteville, was killed when he
control of his motorcycle on a curve on Fifth Avenue in Chambersburg
fleeing from state police and hitting a car. The driver of the car was

Terry Allen Ebersole III, 22, of Greencastle, was killed Dec. 21 after
he lost
control of his vehicle while being pursued by police on Williamson Road
north of Greencastle.

So far this year, one person -- a Waynesboro man -- has died while
police in Franklin County, but there have been several such pursuits.

Robert L. Bennett died after his car crashed while he was fleeing from
Washington Township Police Department on Old Route 16 in Rouzerville.

Many chases end with the arrest of the fleeing motorists, such as the
chase in
Huntingdon County in August 2006 in which Franklin County.

Jail escapee Scott North was captured. North was driving a car belonging
to a
murdered Amberson man and fled after first stopping for a state trooper
taking off when the trooper began questioning him.

He was charged this month with the murder of Carl Ryder, the man whose
car he
was driving at the time of his capture.

In some cases the person being chased by police gets away, such as the
case last
year of a man driving a stolen car that was pursued by Shippensburg

Police said the car reached speeds of up to 100 mph before crashing into
a field
off Municipal Drive. The car's driver eluded police by fleeing on foot
through a
nearby mobile home park.

Police in Pennsylvania were involved in 1,931 vehicle pursuits during
2007, a
decrease of nearly 9 percent from 2006. Thirteen of those chases ended
in the
death of the person being pursued.

The state's Vehicle Code requires state police to compile an annual
pursuit report. The report is available at http://ucr.psp.state.pa.us.

Fatalities in police pursuits have increased steadily since 2003, when
people were killed, according to the annual pursuit reports.

Pennsylvania State Police Year 2008 Press Releases

Police Pursuits In Pennsylvania Drop 9 Percent

HARRISBURG (May 15, 2008) - Law enforcement officers in Pennsylvania
went on
nearly 200 fewer vehicle pursuits in 2007, State Police Commissioner
Jeffrey B.
Miller announced today.

Officers were involved in 1,931 vehicle pursuits during the year, a
decrease of
nearly 9 percent from the 2,115 reported pursuits the previous year.

Miller said 13 individuals being pursued by police were killed in
crashes last year, which was one more than the prior year.

The statistics are contained in the 2007 Pennsylvania Police Pursuit
which is compiled by State Police and can be accessed through the Police
Pursuit Reporting System link at


Other information from the 2007 report:

No police or uninvolved persons were killed as the result of pursuits in
2007 or

652 of the pursuits resulted in crashes, with 218 of those crashes
resulting in

Nearly half of all the pursuits (943) were initiated because of traffic
violations, including speeding. The other most common reasons for police
initiate pursuits were stolen or suspected stolen vehicles (296); felony
criminal offenses (289), and driving under the influence or suspected

1,387 pursuits resulted in the apprehension of the fleeing motorist.

"Under state law, every police department in Pennsylvania must have a
emergency vehicle-response policy governing procedures under which an
should initiate, continue or terminate a pursuit," Miller said. "By
law, the
policies are confidential."

The Vehicle Code defines a pursuit as an "attempt by a police officer
a motor vehicle to apprehend one or more occupants of a vehicle when the
of the vehicle is resisting the apprehension by maintaining or
increasing his
speed or by ignoring the police officer's audible or visual signal to

Since 1996, the Vehicle Code has required State Police to compile and
pursuit reports.

Police agencies in Pennsylvania report their pursuit data directly to
Police through the Pennsylvania Police Pursuit Reporting System, which
is an
Internet-based system maintained by the State Police Bureau of Research

Cpl. Christopher Bendl, the department's police pursuit coordinator,
said the
report is designed to provide statistical information to police agencies
help them evaluate their pursuit policies and to help identify training
successes and deficiencies. The report does not attempt to explain
or decreases in any of the categories and does not break down the
statistics by
department, municipality or county, he said.

Cpl. Michael D. MURRAY

Crime Unit Supervisor

Pennsylvania State Police

3140 E. Second St.

Coudersport, PA 16915

Phone: 814-274-8690

Fax: 814-274-9052