Police Pursuit Driving

Policy and Research

by Geoffrey P. Alpert, Cynthia Lum

Series: SpringerBriefs in Translational Criminology

Police pursuits, often receiving a lot of media attention, have become a topic of concern and priority for both law enforcement and the communities they serve. They often come with high risks for the well-being of community members and for both the police officers involved in the chase as well as for the fleeing suspects. In this brief, we summarize what is known about police pursuits, from both legal decisions and criminological research. We then discuss the impact of this research on police pursuit policy, court decisions, and media reports. We offer suggestions about the need for more development and use of research, and the challenges for research to be integrated into police policies, training, supervision and accountability systems.

About The Author

Geoffrey Alpert is a professor in the department of criminology and criminal justice at the University of South Carolina, and at the Centre for Excellence in Policing and Security at Griffith University, Brisbane, Australia.. Dr. Alpert has been conducting research on high-risk police activities, including pursuit driving for more than 25 years. He routinely provides training and policy development assistance for police agencies. He helped FLETC develop a training curriculum and present it to hundreds of police agencies throughout the United States. He has testified to the United States Congress and several state legislatures on pursuits, and has published more than 35 scholarly and applied articles and 3 books on emergency and pursuit driving. His most recent book on the topic is Police Pursuits: What We Know that was published by The Police Executive Research Forum. Dr. Alpert has completed several major studies on pursuit driving that were supported by the National Institute of Justice. One of these studies focused on the use of helicopters in law enforcement and pursuits. His research findings have been integrated into many training programs throughout the United States, England and Australia and have been cited in numerous court decisions