Jim Phillips' Letter of Support to Senator Aanestad


Jim Phillips
Orlando, Fl 32803

Senator Sam Aanestad
State Capitol, Room 3056
Sacramento, CA 95814

April 2, 2004

Dear Senator Aanestad,

My name is Jim Phillips and I run the web site PursuitWatch.org. My 20 year-old daughter Sarah was the innocent victim of a police pursuit in Orange County, Florida in December of 2001. As a result of that incident I have become an advocate for smarter and safer pursuits. I participated in rewriting the Orange County policy and have just recently completed work on a committee that rewrote the Orlando Police Department policy. As a result of the needless death of my daughter I have been studying pursuit policy, training and accountability and PursuitWatch.org has become the #1 resource on police pursuits on the Internet. It serves the public, press, victims and police agencies as well. Through our mutual efforts I have come to know and respect Mark and Candy Priano and we work together to promote smarter and safer pursuits.

Police pursuit deaths and injuries are becoming epidemic across America and there is a growing public awareness that it is a critically important public safety issue. Consequently, there are many law enforcement agencies, state legislatures, and city councils that have addressed the problem by examining their pursuit policy and practice. Generally these self-examinations have resulted in tighter control, increased training, and increased tracking of police pursuit activities. It is not surprising, considering the intense research and statistical analysis of the last 20 years.

That’s the good news. When you realize that there are over 13,000 law enforcement agencies in the United States the futility of changing them one by one becomes apparent. That is why what you are trying to accomplish with Kristie’s Law is so important. When the legislation is passed every law enforcement agency in California will have minimum standard. A standard that eliminates discretion where possible and prudent. A standard that incorporates the results and wisdom of 20 years of research. A standard that includes accountability.

I applaud your leadership, effort, courage and dedication. The State of California is often “out front” on the critical issues of our time and this is certainly no exception.
I would be honored to help you in this effort in anyway I can.

Jim Phillips