Law enforcement trains, prepares for chases - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

Law enforcement trains, prepares for chases

Jackson Co. officials say chases are a rare, but dangerous occurrence with many variable factors. Jackson Co. officials say chases are a rare, but dangerous occurrence with many variable factors.

Jackson County deputies were forced to recalltheir training and procedures for high-speed chases Tuesday.

A Georgia man led officials on a chase thatbegan in Flat Rock and ended in Scottsboro. At one point, the man was clockedat speeds inexcess of 130 miles per hour.

Law enforcement officials in Jackson Countysaid a chase such as Tuesday's is a rare occurrence. But while they do notoccur often, they said it is one of the most dangerous situations to be in.

Chases end in one of two ways – tragedy or arrest.Jackson County Chief Deputy Rocky Harnen said deputies hope and train for thelatter. "The problem with that is, the people we are chasing have no regard forthat whatsoever," he said.

Harnen said every chase is different. It'swhy having strict guidelines for officers is almost impossible. Everything fromthe suspect to the road conditions and speed involved makes the high-speedchase one of the most difficult aspects of the job to predict.

"Some of them last maybe a quarter of a mileand they decide they are making a mistake and they pull over," Harnen said. "Otherslike the guy yesterday can run for 20 miles, and those are the most dangerousones."

"We could maybe just get a tag, but thatdoesn't tell us who is driving the vehicle, so there are a lot of variables," Harnencontinued. "It is always an ongoing and ever-changing thing when you arechasing someone at a high speed."

The chief deputy said officials usually knowthe roads better than the person they're chasing, which means turns or swervescan make crashing or landing in a ditch more probable. While the end-goal isalways safety for everyone involved, handcuffs and a ride to the county jailis, too.

"If someone is going to run from you likethat, obviously they've got something to hide," Harnen said.

Some agencies have a policy not to chasesuspects, but that is not the case in Jackson County. It is important to notethat there are situations where officials would choose not to pursue someone,including cases where the public would be at too much risk.

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