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Overview of Pursuit Management

Date Published
October 30, 2007

Suspects in cars who flee from law enforcement place themselves, the officers, and bystanders in hazardous situations. High-speed pursuits often result in property damage and may result in injury or death.

About half of all high-speed pursuits last less than 2 minutes and most last less than 6 minutes. Officers must act instantly, weighing the need to protect public safety against the need to apprehend fleeing suspects.

Learn more from Pursuit Management Task Force Report (pdf, 107 pages).

NIJ's research and evaluation portfolio on pursuit management helps make high-speed pursuit safer. An effective resolution to any pursuit is first and foremost defined in terms of the safety of the individuals involved or in immediate, close proximity to a pursuit situation. It is also defined in terms of, when appropriate, the timely apprehension of individuals involved, recovery of property (e.g., a stolen vehicle or goods), and minimization of property damage.

An ideal solution would:

  • Pose no threat of injury to the pursuing officers, bystanders, and occupant(s) of the pursued vehicles.
  • Have near instantaneous effect (e.g., full stop or idle speed operation).
  • Have consistent results across a wide range of pursued vehicles.
  • Not permanently damage vehicles.
  • Not require proximity to the pursued vehicle to work.
  • Be able to stop a specific vehicle in traffic without affecting others.
  • Be portable and able to be operated by a single officer.
  • Be used by the average officer with minimal training.
  • Be easy to maintain.
  • Be priced to be affordable by State and local law enforcement agencies.
  • Have no adverse environmental effects.

Date Published: October 30, 2007