Police Pursuits Pose Complex Dilemma For Law Enforcement

Thursday, October 20th 2016, 7:03 pm

By: News On 6

Owasso had a police pursuit early Thursday morning that ended safely, but, we've had two recently in Green Country that ended with fatality crashes. 

Pursuits are tricky. On the one hand, if the police chase someone, they risk people dying. 

On the other hand, if they don't chase someone, they risk that person getting away a crime or going on to commit one.

An Owasso officer pulled over a man for driving with his headlights' bright lights on. The driver handed over his license, then took off. 

He ran stoplights, almost hit a car, then stopped less than 10 minutes later thanks to stop sticks.

Police said traffic was light, the weather was good and the driver was doing around 80 on the highway, so they feel this pursuit was worth it and  ended safely with the arrest of Mark Bryant.

"He was a danger. He was driving under the influence. He had a warrant out for his arrest for possession of a firearm after a conviction of a felony," said Owasso Police Department Lt. Nick Boatman. 

Last year in Tulsa, out of 38,115 traffic stops, there were 135 pursuits. Officers terminated 20 percent of them, 22 percent ended in crashes, 50 percent ended when the suspect stopped. The rest got away.

Nationwide, pursuits kill about 300 people a year, including officers, suspects and citizens. 

A recent OHP pursuit in Tulsa ended in the death of a woman on her way to church and another one ended in the death of a 16-year-old suspect and a teenage passenger.

That raises the questions, who runs and why?

The FBI said 94 percent are men. The average age is 26. The most common reason is they're in a stolen car, followed by having a suspended license, outstanding warrants and driving under the influence. 

Police said it's a constant battle to arrest those who need it, while trying not to put people at risk in the process.


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