By SUE SUCHYTA
Sunday Times Newspapers
WYANDOTTE – Stiffer penalties need to be enacted for those who flee police officers at high speeds, to discourage the dangerous practice, Deputy Police Chief Archie Hamilton said following a recent incident.
He said an attempted traffic stop at 12:40 a.m. Jan. 17 at Ford and Electric avenues illustrates the reckless disregard that criminals are exhibiting for the safety of other drivers.
Hamilton said that following a traffic stop for an older model red Chrysler 300, the driver waited until the police officer began to approach their car on foot before driving off at a speed that quickly exceeded 90 mph.
“The driver turned off his lights while still traveling at an extremely dangerous speed,” he said. “As a result, the officer terminated pursuit, which allowed the suspect to escape.”
Hamilton said that this is a common tactic criminal employ to discourage police pursuit.
“The same criminals who are responsible for stealing catalytic converters, breaking into homes, stealing cars and committing identity theft are the same people who refuse to stop for the police,” he said. “We, our society, are giving criminals a free pass because there are no substantial consequences for speeding away when they see the red and blue lights in their mirror.”
Hamilton said criminals are rewarded for employing the dangerous tactic of turning off their headlights at night and for driving the wrong way on busy roads.
“Police officers across our state have to adhere to restrictive pursuit policies due to the criticism from the public,” he said. “Those restrictive policies are only encouraging this reckless behavior.”
Hamilton urged the public to focus their anger on the criminals who employ high-speed pursuits by asking lawmakers to increase the penalties for this type of dangerous behavior.