"Stop! Or I’ll yell ‘stop’ again!"

Assigned Reading: SC Mayor Defends ‘No Chase’ Police Policy
(FROM: WSPA.com)

Okay, so I understand the reasoning behind other police departments’ “no chase” policies, or at the very least a threshold at which a police officer cannot cross in pursuing a suspect’s vehicle. Obviously, the safety of other motorists and pedestrians are a valid concern.

In Wellford, South Carolina however, police officers have been banned from chasing criminal suspects on foot, a policy defended by the local mayor, Sallie Peake, as a method of curbing health insurance and worker’s compensation costs.

A memo issued on September 2nd from Peake to all Wellford officers reads:

“As of this date, there are to be no more foot chases when a suspect runs. I do not want anyone chasing after any suspects whatsoever.“

WSPA first reported the mandate on Wednesday after an anonymous citizen faxed a copy of the memo to our newsroom. Peake was out of town and unavailable for comment. On Friday, reporter Chris Cato caught up with her in her office and questioned her about the origin of the policy. Peake says she issued the mandate because several officers have been injured during chases, driving up insurance costs for the town.

“The officers are costing us more money on insurance than most citizens here in the city of Wellford are even earning,“ says Peake.

She says the city is paying out $20,000 annually in workers’ compensation claims, much of it due to the police force. In July, two officers wrecked their cruisers while chasing suspects and had to go to the hospital for minor treatment. The police chief says three officers have been injured during foot chases in the last two years.

So, if you’re the criminal type and confronted by a police officer in Wellford, just run. They’re not allowed to follow you.

Seriously. The policy states, simply: “No chases whatsoever.”

But when we asked Peake about her order impeding an officer from stopping a crime in progress, she became defensive and irate. The conversation went as follows:

Reporter: “Are you telling your officers if they witness a crime – they witness someone commit a crime on someone else and they’re ten yards away – they can’t go stop that person?“

Peake:
“Is that in there?“ (referring to policy)

Reporter:
“It says no chases whatsoever.“

Peake:
“Well, that’s what I said, no chases, didn’t I? I didn’t say nothing about a crime. If you see a crime, this that and the other -“

Reporter:
“Well, that’s what a chase is – “

Peake:
“Well, I told them no chase on foot, and (the police chief) know exactly what I mean, so you’re trying to twist what I -“

Reporter:
“No, I’m not. You said no chases. No chases means no chases.“

Peake:
(claps hands) “You got you a story, thank God! You are so sweet! You got you a story on a woman in Wellford! Hallelujah! I’m so proud of you, Mr. Cato!“

Now, I’m only learning the ins and outs of worker’s compensation law, and I’m certainly no expert on law enforcement, but this policy seems to directly countermand the very nature of “To Serve and Protect.”

Thinking on a municipal administration level, it’s one thing to save $20,000 in worker’s compensation costs and to otherwise pinch pennies in this economy, but what happens to the value of property and the welfare of local businesses when ne’er-do-wells figure out that, in Wellford, the police department is handcuffed to the extreme?

The whole thing is just embarrassing. I feel bad for the police officers, who likely signed up for more than just traffic duty and ticket-writing. And I feel bad for the people of Wellford — their local government obviously has its head in the sand when it comes to matters of priority and simple human nature, and if Mayor Peake is this oblivious about law enforcement, I can’t imagine what else is going on down there.

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Comments

  1. S T U P I D says:

    Are you sure they can even yell stop? doesn't workmans comp cover vocal cords?

  2. Mike says:

    So, if the police are more than arm's length away, they need just to start shooting the perps. That'll definitely reduce the crime rate.

  3. Bodenzee says:

    Jeff,

    "To serve and protect" went away years ago.

    Richardson, TX (a Dallas suburb) used to have "To Serve and Protect" on every police vehicle. They removed these words about ten years ago, and based on their performance since they didn't do it to save paint.

  4. Bodenzee says:

    More time in the gym and less at the donut shop might make foot chases less of a physical challenge.

  5. William A. Rose says:

    Hehe Mike. That wouldn't be politically correct, now would it?

    As for the "To Serve And Protect" slogan, the police are not actually required to serve and protect anyone. I read something somewhere discussing that topic. I, unfortunately, do not remember enough from the article to discuss it intelligently.

  6. COLUMBO says:

    Speaking of dogging suspects… why don't those two kids that busted open the ACORN corruption look into Barry Soetoro's birth and college records….

  7. Bodenzee says:

    When asked why he robbed banks Willie Sutton used to say "because that's where they money is."

    Today, if asked why banks are robbed in Wellford the response might be "have you met our mayor?"

    Government, at all levels is deplorable…the reasons are several, non laudable.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Don't CHAZE me, bro!

  9. Anonymous says:

    "STOP, or I'll (BLAM!) shoot"

  10. Anonymous says:
  11. Anonymous says:

    I just emailed my t-shirt design to Wellford, SC. I'll let you know their thoughts on it. ROTFLMAO

  12. Rix says:

    If the citizens of Wellford manage to elect that toad-faced dimwit as their mayor, they do deserve an elevated crime rate.

  13. Gail B says:

    My son is a firefighter for Austell, GA. A man held up a bank and ran, police after him on foot but being outrun. The armed man ran by the fire department and Tim was outside. They yelled to Tim to stop the man.

    Tim's father was on the track team and taught my boys how to run. (Everybody outran me!) Tim took off after the robber, overtook him, and tackled him just as he reached some woods. The two fell into briers, but Tim held onto the robber until police caught up and arrested him.

    What's the point in running fast if you can't put it to good use? The police academy has running as part of its physical test.

    Tim asked the police, "Why didn't you TELL me he was armed BEFORE you sent me after him?!"

  14. Anonymous says:

    My Son is a police officer and there is no way he would stand around and let someone run. Doesn't this silly woman know most criminals do run? Our city cruisers still have to serve and protect and even though there are some officers in departments for the wrong reasons, I do feel safe in my town. Yep, I have heard all the donut jokes and sure I laugh but I know personally just what officers deal with on a day to day basis. How would you like to be called to a check welfare and find a woman that had a stroke and had been laying in bed for days before anyone found her. Or what about being the first to arrive on scene when some nut case just blew his head off in front of his kids. Most officers really do care about what they are doing and the small paychecks they receive for putting their lives on the line daily is proof.

    P.S. word verification..serchabo…scramble the letters and you get search B.O….hahaha

    Sally

  15. Anonymous says:
  16. Rix says:

    Anon@11:21AM:

    Thanks for the link. The picture is worth a thousand words. Sorry, Jeff. :)

  17. WHITE COATS ON CALL says:

    Rix,

    did you happen to catch the video of this female mayor on the link Jeff provided at the head of this article?

    Certifiably C R A Z Y.

  18. Anonymous says:

    Mayor Peake needs to be commended… She is clearly one politician NOT trying to get re-elected ! :-)

    Seriously… If they run, yell stop. If they don't, shoot 'em in the back!

  19. PSYDOG says:

    If I lived or was in this town and a crime was committed against me and I was injured in any way I would sue the pants off the city, I would own that town. Does this mayor not realize that her policy may cost her city more than a mere $20,000 payed out in work comp, due to a lost lawsuit for injuries suffered by an innocent citizen?

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