Police officers shooting at speeding cars to stop suspects is standard fare in movies and TV shows. In real life, more law enforcement agencies are curbing the practice, says the Wall Street Journal. The fatal shooting by Denver police last week of Jessica Hernandez, 17, who was driving in an allegedly stolen car carrying four other teens, is the latest incident to ignite calls for tightening restrictions. A Denver police spokesman said, “We have an extremely high threshold before you're allowed to fire into a vehicle.”
More police departments are telling officers not to shoot at vehicles and instead get out of the way if they can. “The emerging conventional thinking is that shooting into a car is a bad idea for all kinds of reasons,” said Jim Bueermann, ex-Redlands, Ca., police chief now heading the Police Foundation. Last year, the Miami Beach Police Department prohibited officers from shooting at moving cars unless someone in the vehicle opens fire or displays a weapon. If a driver is hit by police fire, there is no guarantee the car will come to safe stop, said Chuck Wexler of the Police Executive Research Forum, which recommended the changes to Miami Beach and other departments. Four decades ago, New York City instituted a policy similar to Miami Beach's. Since then, no officer has been killed by a driver trying to run over an officer or otherwise attempting to avoid arrest.