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  1. #1
    Posting Addict GloriaInTX's Avatar
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    Default No Chase policies

    Do no chase policies go too far when police are not allowed to go after kidnapped children who are in immediate danger?


    DALLAS - The president of Dallas County’s Constable Association is defending the actions of two deputy constables who were flagged down for help as two children were allegedly kidnapped and ultimately murdered by their father.

    Police said on Monday morning 32-year-old Naim Muhammad abducted his wife and two young sons as they were walking to school. The woman managed to escape and flagged down two deputy constables from Constable Derick Evans’ Precinct 1.

    The deputies radioed Dallas police for help but did not pursue Muhammad’s vehicle.

    “I believe that they did exactly what they were supposed to do,” said Deputy Constable Rene Christian, president of the Dallas County Constable Association. “There were no lights or sirens in that car and that precinct had a no-chase policy, period.”

    Some have questioned why the law enforcement officials didn’t at least follow the suspect at the speed limit to see where he was going.

    “That would actually be part of the definition of a pursuit or chase. They just could not,” Christian said.

    Christian said the deputies had no choice but to stay put, citing liability issues had they chased and then injured someone else in the process.

    She said protocol calls for constables to radio dispatch, who then contacts a supervisor who makes the call on what happens next. She didn’t know if that had been done in this case, but said it all comes back to state law – no lights or sirens, no chase.

    Christian said she believes the deputies would have absolutely been in trouble if they disregarded policy and their supervisors. But attorney Kevin Clancy, who has defended officers in court, disagrees. He said any citizen could have followed that car as long as there were no traffic violations.

    “I don’t think any jury would let them get fired over that situation,” Clancy said.

    And if the deputies still had Muhammad’s vehicle in eyesight when his wife flagged them down Clancy said the law actually allows them to get involved.

    “63.009 specifically allows law enforcement to get involved when a child is in danger and that’s exactly what should have been done,” he said. “If they saw the car then they should have at least pursued without running any lights or violating any speed laws. If they could have gotten behind it and gotten a number and told police where they were they may have been able to save these children.”

    Christian said the deputy constables in Precinct 1 don’t have lights and sirens because of budget cuts. She said when the traffic division was cut so were the lights and sirens.

    Other law enforcement officials who wished to remain anonymous said it has nothing to do with the budget. They added law enforcement officials should always be on duty and always try to help when there is a crime.
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    I'm confused by the role of constable in your area. According to the recruitment website for Dallas County, a constables duties are:
    Performs licensed peace officer tasks in accordance with State and local laws and the policies and procedures of the Constable’s Office and performs bailiff tasks for the Justice of the Peace.
    Is this different than a sheriff deputy?

  3. #3
    Prolific Poster ftmom's Avatar
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    There are so many things about this that just seem wrong to me.

    No lights on a police car? WTF????? How are they supposed to do their job and get anywhere without lights? Maybe I am also not following what he roll of a constable is there? I know here we have RCMP and they have lights and sirens, respond to emergency calls etc. Sheriffs who I dont think get lights and sirens, they transport prisoners, work in the courts etc. And bylaw officers that enforce our towns bylaws (I dont think they get lights).

    So who are these guys that they dont have lights?

    I do agree with not getting into high speed chases if you dont have a light bar etc, because I think that is dangerous and endangers more lives than it might save. Our members have a similar policy in town even with lights.

    However, I do think these guys (if they are real police officers) should have followed the car. But I am not blaming them for not doing it. Not only does it sound like they were told even that would be against policy, but they would have no idea if doing so would endanger the children or not. What if they had followed, the driver saw them and sped up, hitting a moving truck and killing them all? Not only that, but they (at that point) only had the word of a probably very worked up woman telling them that the kids were in danger, so I can see why they would want to get their facts straight before acting on the information.
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    Posting Addict RebeccaA'07's Avatar
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    We have constables here as well and they do not have lights/sirens. They can step in if neccessary in traffic violations but there is always a deputy right behind them.

    In this situation, they should have at least followed this guy. It was an obvious kidnapping and I don't see how it would be "chase" if they were following the traffic laws, no speeding, etc. They should've been right on him until the appropriate law enforcement could have made it. Instead, they let these boys die.

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    Prolific Poster ftmom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RebeccaA'07 View Post
    We have constables here as well and they do not have lights/sirens. They can step in if neccessary in traffic violations but there is always a deputy right behind them.

    In this situation, they should have at least followed this guy. It was an obvious kidnapping and I don't see how it would be "chase" if they were following the traffic laws, no speeding, etc. They should've been right on him until the appropriate law enforcement could have made it. Instead, they let these boys die.
    How was this an 'obvious kidnapping'? Because a mother was freaking out about the father of her children taking them away in a car? How often does that happen in a non-kidnapping situation. I doubt anything was 'obvious' at that point.
    Kyla
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    Posting Addict RebeccaA'07's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ftmom View Post
    How was this an 'obvious kidnapping'? Because a mother was freaking out about the father of her children taking them away in a car? How often does that happen in a non-kidnapping situation. I doubt anything was 'obvious' at that point.
    Hmm. A mother screaming that her children were kidnapped SHOULD be taken seriously. Perhaps it might not have been obvious to you, but I find it incredibly obvious when a woman is freaking out because her children were just taken by a man regardless of the fact that it was the father.

  7. #7
    Prolific Poster ftmom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RebeccaA'07 View Post
    Hmm. A mother screaming that her children were kidnapped SHOULD be taken seriously. Perhaps it might not have been obvious to you, but I find it incredibly obvious when a woman is freaking out because her children were just taken by a man regardless of the fact that it was the father.
    Admittedly, I would also be inclined to believe her as well. However, both of us are mothers who couldn't imagine saying such a thing unless it were true. These were police officers who deal with domestic situations every day, and chances are they have heard this same thing when it isn't true. In my experience, cops tend to be a pretty skeptical bunch, especially when it comes to domestic situations. When my sister and her DH were splitting up my husband drove me crazy always wanting to know the 'other' side of the story.......Umm Hello! She's my sister, I only care about her side
    Kyla
    Mom to Arianna (5), Conner (3) and Trent (my baby)

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    This situation probably wouldn't have met the criteria for an Amber Alert:
    Police Procedures
    For police to activate The Dallas/Fort Worth Amber Plan, two criteria must be met:
    1) The child should be 17 years of age or younger, or with a proven mental or physical
    disability, and
    2) Police must believe the child is in danger of serious bodily harm or death.
    These guidelines are in place to make it clear when an activation should and should not
    happen. If both criteria are not met, The Amber Alert should not be activated. Police
    and broadcasters in North Texas have agreed that The Amber Plan should not be
    activated for "runaways." While each case must be judged individually, most "child
    custody" situations also fall outside the criteria.
    bolding mine

    I'm not convinced this would even be considered a "child custody" situation since the article gives no indication that they were in the process of divorcing or restraining orders/custody agreements were in place.

    This was their father. Had the constables done something different this time, what would prevent the father from waiting until another time? He could have easily signed the children out of school and murdered them another time.

    The constables did call Dallas PD. They were in a vehicle with no lights and sirens and couldn't pull the vehicle over. Since this was her husband, why didn't she know the description and tag number of the vehicle?

    It's really hard to fault the constables for following procedure. It doesn't sound like their role is the same as a cop/sheriff deputy.

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    Posting Addict Starryblue702's Avatar
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    I too am confused by this? There must be some difference between a constable and an actual police officer there? So what if the dad would have pulled up next to them, shot them all dead, and then took off? If the officer saw all of that would he still sit dormant in his car because he wasn't allowed to "chase" anyone? Seems to me that that rule needs to be changed, and now this poor woman's children are dead because of it.
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    I don't understand how simply following someone is considered a chase or pursuit. The woman said her kids were kidnapped by the man in that car, simple common sense says, don't let that car out of your sight until the real cops arrive. If her claim is true, then you might have just saved a life, in this case two lives. And if it turns out to be not true when he gets pulled over, then you simply let him go & give her a citation for false reporting.

    ETA that I'm not opposed to "no chase policies" in general, but I think common sense has to be the determining factor. IMHO when kids are involved it's better to err on the side of being cautious. There was a case here not long ago where the highway patrol "followed" someone via helicopter & freeway cameras because he had two kids who weren't in car seats. After he pulled off the freeway, they cornered him & the kids were safe.
    Last edited by Spacers; 08-29-2011 at 02:07 PM.
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