NOON.. JANUARY 3, 2018
At least nine police vehicles, as many as sixteen or more police officers, one fleeing "stolen" UHaul pickup with two people inside. Right front tire gone.. after a hard crash and loss of control, the truck comes to a grinding stop at 4th Street and Whittier in Montebello.
'Stuff' is ejected from the cab of the truck and the helicopter shot from ABC7 news shows employees of Montebello Chevrolet shooting video or photos on their cell phones.
The narration by TV news is all speculation as the people in the truck bide their time with hand guns and rifles all pointed at them.
A K9 officer and dog position themselves. Cops warn curious pedestrians away. The intersection is blocked.
Our interest in these chases is pornographic, at least, to me.. We are drawn in by the possibility of a crash. Movie chases like The French Connection and Bullet and more recently, The Driver are thrilling and we, the audience .. get off on the movie versions.. thrilled.. and this translates directly to reality now filling the TV news.
A "law enforcement expert" commentator repeats himself as clueless news anchors repeat their questions.... here comes the SWAT tank! Stand off.
Without narrating the end of this event, it's an opportunity to present an idea that I've tried to present in the past. Woman driver.. bizarre ending. In custody as the cops slam the woman into the side of their cruiser. She may have resisted? She was handcuffed as two large men made sure she was secure!
This is a stolen vehicle deal. Now 14 vehicles on site.
Since this is about stolen property, there may be danger of weapons in the possession of the perpetrators, but it's a stolen truck! No mention of weapons.
I've asked in the past why.. in the case of stolen property and no report of weapons, why the police don't back totally off, allowing the perpetrator(s) to slow down and eventually feel that they can stop? Monitor with a helicopter and keep ground units in a parallel course?
Now we have as many as twenty or more officers and a growing number of black and white units ..at what cost? An average LAPD cop earns over a three hundred dollars a day.. So.. for this event, we have cops off the street, all focused on these two criminals at the cost of more than a thousand dollars an hour.
The TV news narration is dramatic and filled with hyperbole and speculation that often describe things that I could not see happening while watching the same images as the anchors.
To the point.. .. I've often wondered why, at every police station in Los Angeles, there are not deployed one or two 'nondescript' retired cruisers that can be sent out to help stop chases like this? The idea of a big box truck or even a big rig available seems like an idea, too. Expendables?
If police cruisers and CHP cars are retired at a hundred thousand miles, they still have a lot of life left in them. I know that they are sometimes used for non emergency transportation, like moving prisoners around, so they are available.
If ..say.. a dozen retired cruisers were repainted with a special number designation on top.. and if they were deployed at police stations where demographics show chases might be likely to occur, the police then roll the nondescript cars into the chase? Make them available to create a block or even with two cars with kevlar and bullet proof glass.. just squeeze the perpetrator to a stop?
The goal, of course, is to reduce the high speed chases which endanger the public : lives as well as property. The chase today ..driven by a combative woman... had one crash. We have no idea if the driver of the unsuspecting truck that was crashed into was injured. Of course, innocent folks have been killed. That's the worst outcome of a chase.
Why not begin a program to give this suggestion a try? A dozen repurposed cars available to help bring fleeing cars to a more peaceful end; reduce crashes with innocent others? Save lives?
It's just a suggestion: Trained drivers: police officers.. in unmarked cars that are 'dispenseable?'.. Could it save one life?
It's just a suggestion.
Happy New Year..
2018.. michael sheehan