Kristie's Law

Kristie's Law is not a law.
Absolutely, we blame the drivers who flee.

And, we believe officers must follow their pursuit policy because 
we cannot put our trust in fleeing drivers to do the right thing.

Proposed measures are often changed as they make their way through the legislature.
Kristie's Law in 2004              Kristie's Law in 2005     


Issues that need to be addressed:

  1. ALL Drivers who flee
    a. should not be allowed to make bail because they are a flight risk,
    b. should not be allowed to make plea-bargain deals for eluding officers,
    c. should be required to serve mandatory prison time for the full sentence, and 
    d. should be required to pay a mandatory fine before being released from jail/prison. This fine will be in an amount larger than fines for traffic violations or driving with a suspended license or no license at all. Parents of minors will be required to pay this fine immediately or go to jail until the fine is paid. 

    Monies collected will be used to build state-of-the-art pursuit training tracks for officers.

  2. Officers can only pursue known violent felons, Amber Alert suspects or drivers posing an immediate threat to public safety.

  3. An independent investigative team (comprised of officers from other agencies, victims' advocates and non-law enforcement professionals) to review police vehicular pursuits ending in death or injury. 

  4. Officers must follow their pursuit policy. It "shocks the conscience" to learn that California law enforcement agencies are NOT required to follow their pursuit policy.

    Sidebar: In 1987 the California legislature passed a law that awards blanket immunity to California law enforcement agencies that have adopted a pursuit policy that meets rudimentary standards. The legislature continues to neglect to make compliance with the Vehicle Pursuit policy a requirement. Can you think of any other public-safety priority where thoughtful policy is developed, adopted, and then legally ignored? All other law enforcement policies require accountability. Accountability should never be feared. It is critical to good government.

    In California, innocent victims of pursuit are summarily dismissed as "acceptable collateral damage." It's not that we lose our cases in a Court of Law; it's that we are denied our right to discover in a Court of Law whether or not the officers followed their own pursuit policy. 

    Even California's Fourth Appellate Court addressed the immunity issue on Nov. 22, 2002: "Unfortunately, the adoption of a policy which may never be implemented is cold comfort to innocent bystanders who get in the way of a police pursuit. We do not know if the policy was followed in this instance, and that is precisely the point: We will never know because defendant [the public entity that employs officers] did not have to prove ... that the police officers participating in this pursuit followed the policy. It is especially chilling that this particular instance occurred on the property of a school where students were present, but it is also sad that one blameless person was seriously injured [and later died] as a result of the pursuit, and that his family has no option for redress."

    When law enforcement groups in two other states tried to play the immunity card, two state courts said "NO" to blanket immunity. 
    Read what happened in Indiana's Supreme Court! 
    Read what happened in Nebraska's Supreme Court!

    When in doubt on sticky public safety issues, state legislators prefer to be seen as "doing something" -- even when something doesn't add up to much. [Journal & Courier]

    In 2005, California legislators passed over Kristie's Law for a "Do-nothing pursuit law." Legislators throughout the United States need to implement Kristie's Law and, consequently, save innocent lives and the lives of our officers.

  Also read: The San Francisco Chronicle Restricting Pursuits in Los Angeles

Kristie's Law is a preventative measure.