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To chase or not to chase

By   /   November 21, 2011  /   Comments


Over the past week and a half I have heard and read about whether the chase the resulted in the death of one of Albany’s finest was right or wrong.  Then there was the question over wither the people being chased should be charged with murder.

As a 23 year veteran of the Albany Police Department and serving 8 years as a Police Chief, I would like to respond to these questions.  First should she have chased?

First, the APD has a very strict policy dealing with chasing.  It addresses when to chase, how many cars can be in the chase, as well as public safety.  This policy is several pages long and very through.  This policy has been in effect since the early 1990’s

Second, this officer had a split second to decide if this situation called for a chase or not, start the chase, notify dispatch what was going on (where she was, direction she was going, and a description of the vehicle she was chasing.  She has to do all of this while driving at unknown speeds, keeping calm enough to be understood over the radio.

Should she have given chase?  The people in that van had just committed an armed robbery; she had every right to chase and really had an obligation to spot them.   Had she not chased, and they committed another robbery and killed someone the cries would be different.  The city would have been asking why she did not stop them when she had the chance.

I have also heard that she was not trained to be in a chase.  Every officer certified in the state of Georgia must take and pass a class on Emergency Vehicle Driving.  I challenge any of you to drive the course she had to drive to gain her certification.  Yes she was very well trained to be driving that Police Vehicle during that chase.

Yes, they most definitely should be charged with murder. She died because they were committing a felony.  Her death would have never happened it they had not started the chain of events.

Wake up Albany; we should be doing everything we can to make sure her children are taken care off.  The City of Albany has not accepted her as the hero she is, we should thank God that the city has officers who are ready to give their lives to keep us safe.

If the City is going to name a bridge after anyone then it should be a true hero like this.  Often we do not realize what we have until we lose it.

Chief Thomas (Barney) Knighton


Editorial Disclosure: Chief Knighton is the father of The Albany Journal publisher Tom Knighton. However, based on Chief Knighton’s experience with the Albany Police Department in particular and law enforcement in general, we feel his perspective was deserving of being published in its own right, regardless of familial connections with this paper’s management.

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