Thursday, December 31, 2009

Help me with the numbers, please...

By now, many readers of this blog are familiar with the Cato Institute study on the growing use of SWAT teams around the country and, specifically, their increased use in the drug war. These readers are also familiar with the casualties created by this increased use. These numbers include police, suspects and innocent bystanders.

I am curious, though. Is anyone keeping track of the numbers of police, suspects or innocent bystanders maimed or killed in high-speed pursuits stemming from drug investigations?

This question presumes that people are injured in such pursuits. A logical assumption, but one that still needs validation.

A quick Google search under "high speed pursuit" and "drugs" or "narcotics" shows, however, that the numbers may be considerable:

These numbers should be compiled just as accurately as any other casualty in the drug war. The victims arose from a similar set of circumstances - bad public policy and aggressive police tactics.

If I missed an organization that, in fact, does compile stats on victims of high speed chases arising out of the drug war, my apologies. If none exists, then it is time to create one.


  1. Hello. My name is Candy Priano, executive director of PursuitSAFETY. PursuitSAFETY welcomes the opportunity to work with a government agency or organization to compile more accurate information about the deaths (and injuries) of innocent bystanders and our officers. Information on the web link below outlines the flaws in the voluntary tracking system by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). We appreciate NHTSA's effort, but we need to do better.

    Thank you!

  2. Not much help in this direction it appears.
    What were you going to do with the information Jay?

  3. A friend emailed me this - "go to on the left side of the home page is a candle, click on it, it has a lot of information he is seeking."

  4. I am not going to do anything with the information except incorporate it into my presentations. More evidence of the death and carnage.

    Jay Fisher

  5. Hi Jay, I'm rather statistics starved myself.

    Hi Candy, I liked your website and your cause. Looking at the Myths page, it occurred to me there is space for the ubiquitous "it sends the wrong message" (mis)logic. As in "it sends the wrong message to the crooks that we aren't willing to track you or hunt you down; and it sends the wrong message to citizens that we are willing to give up, that we are quitters, when it comes to capturing the 'bad guys,' etc…

    In related news there was a show on 10+ years ago, something like "Wild Police Chases" where they showed all sorts of dash-cam and other videos of police pursuits. I have to admit the host seemed rather gung-ho on the notion, but as far as me, the reason I liked the show was it taught me to be much more aware of blind corners. It made me realize that every corner or intersection I approached could suddenly contain a jerk driving like the proverbial bat out of hell, trying to elude the cops. Up to that point I really was mostly unaware that this grievous danger was so prevalent.

    Not too long ago America's Most Wanted featured a similar incident. The dead included a guy who was walking on the sidewalk, a guy in a car crossing the intersection, and perhaps at least one person in the car being pursued. After the crash, one of the people in the car being chased, ran off and he still wasn't caught. But, according to the page I link to, it seems he was eventually caught.

    This all reminds me of a saying I was forced to invent. There was one person in particular who was trying to constantly get my goat. He pummeled me with the injustices of the world; mainly those committed by people in positions of power and authority. Finally I said, "if humans don't catch them God does. You can outrun humans, but you can't outrun God." There is justice; it may not come on the timeline we want, and people may mistakenly think they've eluded capture/justice, or "spun" people to think what they did was right, but God can not be tricked or escaped.


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