Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Can we shoot them now?

After the sixth Minnesotan died this year as a victim of a car chase, I had a dumb idea about shooting at drivers who flee, which received some encouraging feedback from a police officer.

Speaking of police officers, here's one who will never return home because a fleeing driver pointed his 4,000 motorized weapon at him and fired:

A Lino Lakes police officer was killed late Tuesday afternoon when a suspect driving a stolen vehicle and fleeing police crashed into him beside Interstate Hwy. 35W in Lino Lakes.

Officer Shawn Silvera, 32, was placing stop sticks -- tire deflators -- on the freeway's southbound lanes, north of the Anoka County Road 23 exit, when a vehicle driven by Steven Stenke, 26, swerved and hit him, said County Sheriff Bruce Andersohn.

Silvera was standing near his squad in the median and was thrown "quite a distance" into the ditch of the northbound lanes, the sheriff said.

The suspect, Stenke, then swerved into the northbound lanes and hit a van driven by a Wisconsin man, who was injured but is expected to survive, Andersohn said.

Investigators said they didn't know whether Stenke deliberately swerved to hit Silvera while trying to avoid the stop sticks.

Andersohn said the car driven by Stenke crashed in the ditch, and he tried to escape on foot but was caught and arrested. He was taken to a hospital.
If I were a Lino Lake police officer, I would have been sure to shoot the asshole three times in the chest and claim he looked like he was going for a gun.

Naturally, there will be a review. I'll bet $1,000 right when they re-write pursuit policy, it'll benefit the criminal and not the police.
The Anoka County Sheriff's Office will conduct a criminal investigation coordinated with the State Patrol.

Andersohn said he wasn't in a position to say whether the pursuit was justified or not.

"Any time an agency is involved in a pursuit, it's time to sit down and review chase policies," he said.

"There's a fine balance to be had when it comes to pursuit. You have the public interest. You have the interest of law enforcement. You have the interest of public safety. You try to balance these interests against the severity of what you're pursuing someone for," he said.

"When you have circumstances like this, it's never easy to justify a pursuit. And thankfully, very few end this way. But when they do, the tragedy is something we all have to pause with and take a hard look at whether we're doing the right thing for the right reasons."
Right thing: apprehending criminals. Right reason: they're a danger to society. Period.

To penalize the police for the criminals who flee is exactly the wrong thing to do. If a city council has to vote on new policies, I have $1,000 that says they don't side with giving police more powers to end chases.

Any takers?

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