A Virginia politician is advocating statewide guidelines for high-speed pursuits by police. State Delegate Delores McQuinn, a Richmond Democrat, said “public safety has taken a back seat to catching criminals.” Her remarks were prompted by the recent death of a Richmond pastor who was killed by a vehicle fleeing Henrico County police over a possible marijuana violation, reports the city’s Times-Dispatch. She said she would propose “specialized training in police pursuits for all officers and alternatives to pursuits.”
Minimum training standards in Virginia already require police academies to cover police chases and to test recruits on what factors they should consider when initiating a pursuit and on potential hazards of a high-speed chase. McQuinn said she plans to propose legislation to stiffen penalties for people who cause fatal crashes. She said her proposals aim to protect members of the community and also police officers, and she added that she is not encouraging a “free-for-all” in which suspects think they can get away with fleeing from officers.