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Safer Way Award = Police Officer Recognition

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Voices Insisting on Pursuit Safety logo

CHICO, Calif., Jan. 30, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- It's time—time to recognize officers and law enforcement agencies, which use innovative ways to avoid police pursuits and still apprehend suspects.

PursuitSAFETY, a nonprofit organization, encourages members of law enforcement and citizens to submit their online nominations for the third annual PursuitSAFETY Safer Way Award by March 31, 2013. The agency and the community size does not matter—PursuitSAFETY is interested in all submissions. For guidelines and the online nomination form, visit this webpage: http://pursuitsafety.org/saferway2013.html.

In 2012, the organization recognized the Dallas (TX) Police Department for changes in pursuit policies and driver training methods. In 2011, the recognition went to officers from the St. Louis County (MO) Police Department for creative methods in the apprehension of vehicle burglary suspects to avoid a pursuit.

The International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) Highway Safety Committee will judge the nominees based on achievements prior to and through the year 2012. The Committee also encourages agencies of all sizes to submit nominations. The third annual PursuitSAFETY Safer Way Award will be presented during the Highway Safety Awards Breakfast at the 120th annual IACP Conference and Exposition in October 2013.

"It's important to recognize creative methods of apprehending a known driver or suspect without a pursuit or the changing of an agency's policy and/or training practices to reduce injuries and deaths," said Maryville, Illinois, Police Chief Rich Schardan, administrator of the Safer Way Award and a PursuitSAFETY advisory board member.

"Pursuits must be executed in a safe manner," Schardan said. "PursuitSAFETY's Safer Way Award is an important initiative for bringing attention to both the need for life-saving pursuit policies and effective officer training."

Impact

The award recognizes officer achievements, builds communication networks between officers about other ways to apprehend suspects, and saves lives by reducing the number of pursuits and, consequently, reducing the number of deaths and injuries.

"We need to educate our recruits in the academy and during our department field training programs about the risks of a pursuit to officers, citizens and perpetrators—to provide a knowledge base in their decision-making," Schardan continued. "Officers cannot make these life and death decisions on an 'if.' The officer's responsibility is for the safety of people. In addition, administrators need to consider the possibilities of losing an officer's ability to work, the loss of a squad car, worker's comp claims, and a lawsuit. It is risk management. It is protecting officers and innocent bystanders."

On average, crashes due to drivers fleeing from the police kill someone every day. One-third of these pursuit fatalities are innocent bystanders, according to a 2004 Harborview Injury Prevention and Research Center analysis of nine years of voluntary data collected by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

From the 2008 IACP Police Pursuit Database, officers pursued drivers 42.3% for traffic violation, 18.2% for stolen vehicle, 14.9 for suspected DWI, 8.6% for violent felony, 5.9% for other misdemeanors, and 2.6% for assisting other departments.

"The Safer Way Award sets another standard of professionalism for police officers," said Candy Priano, PursuitSAFETY founder and executive director. "Crashes to apprehend drivers for stolen vehicles taken without violence, shoplifting, misdemeanor traffic violations, and known suspects have resulted in the deaths of innocent bystanders and officers. We support more pursuit training for officers, and our goal is to create communication networks whereby officers share their apprehension techniques. Life is precious, unlike a piece of property. Children, mothers and fathers, grandparents—our loved ones—are irreplaceable."

Also, please watch actor and inspirational speaker Glenn Morshower in PursuitSAFETY's YouTube public service announcements. Morshower, PursuitSAFETY's spokesperson since the founding of the organization, is most known for his role as Agent Aaron Pierce in the Fox-TV show 24 and serves as PursuitSAFETY's spokesperson at no cost to the organization.

About PursuitSAFETY

PursuitSAFETY is the sole national nonprofit organization committed to preventing the tragedy of vehicular police pursuit from happening to innocent bystanders and police officers. We exist to save lives. Learn more by contacting Candy Priano, founder and executive director, at 530-343-9754 or candy.priano@pursuitsafety.org or visit www.pursuitsafety.org.



The Voices Insisting on Pursuit Safety logo is available at http://www.globenewswire.com/newsroom/prs/?pkgid=16926

A photo accompanying this release is available at: http://www.globenewswire.com/newsroom/prs/?pkgid=16925

CONTACT: Chief Rich Schardan, Sr. Maryville, Illinois, Police Department and Safer Way Award Administrator (618) 345-5871 saferwayaward@charter.net

Source: Voices Insisting on Pursuit Safety