Number of Police Pursuits in Pennsylvania Rose Slightly in 2011

Jun 18, 2012, 10:27 ET from Pennsylvania State Police Department

HARRISBURG, Pa., June 18, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Law enforcement agencies across Pennsylvania reported involvement in 1,453 vehicle pursuits last year, a slight increase over the 1,413 pursuits reported in 2010, State Police Commissioner Frank Noonan announced today.

Thirteen pursuit-related deaths were reported in 2011. Twelve of those killed were fleeing from police; one death involved an uninvolved person. No police officers were killed as the result of pursuits.

"Failing to stop for police is often glamorized in movies and video games," said Noonan. "But in real-life, there can be dire and tragic consequences. Don't run from police—it's not worth it."

Noonan said 546 of the pursuits resulted in 731 crashes in 2011, with 208 of those crashes involving injuries.

The statistics, from both state and municipal police departments, are contained in the 2011 Pennsylvania Police Pursuit Report compiled by State Police. The report can be accessed through the Police Pursuit Reporting System, found online at

Other information contained in the report shows that:

  • Nearly half of all the pursuits (730) were initiated because of traffic violations, including speeding. The other most common reasons for police to initiate pursuits were driving under the influence or suspected DUI (240); felony criminal offenses (208); and stolen or suspected stolen vehicles (127).
  • 1,049 pursuits resulted in the ultimate apprehension of the fleeing motorist.
  • 57.7 percent of the apprehensions were accomplished using a trailing pursuit, in which officers simply follow the violator's vehicle in attempt to bring it to a stop. Trailing pursuits are the least aggressive type of pursuit.

State law requires every police department in Pennsylvania to have a written emergency vehicle-response policy governing procedures under which an officer should initiate, continue or terminate a pursuit. By law, these policies are confidential.

State law defines a pursuit as an "attempt by a police officer operating a motor vehicle to apprehend one or more occupants of a vehicle when the driver of the vehicle is resisting the apprehension by maintaining or increasing his speed or by ignoring the police officer's audible or visual signal to stop."

Since 1996, the Vehicle Code has required State Police to compile and publish pursuit data. Police agencies statewide directly report this data through the Internet-based Pennsylvania Police Pursuit Reporting System, which is maintained by the State Police Bureau of Research and Development.

The report is designed to provide statistical information to police agencies to help them evaluate their pursuit policies and to help identify training successes and deficiencies. It does not attempt to explain increases or decreases in any of the categories and does not organize the statistics by department, municipality or county.

For more information about the PA State Police, visit

Media contacts: Cpl. Jill M. Mahady or Sgt. Anthony E. Manetta, 717-783-5536

SOURCE Pennsylvania State Police Department