In 2000, studies by the U.S. Department of Justice demonstrated that the Code of Silence that police officers maintain with each other is far from myth (see here). Sometimes it is not with purpose or with malice that cruel encounters with police occur but rather inexperience and fear. When mistakes are made regardless of what side of the law made them, there should be accountability. I believe that police should serve and protect our communities; but police actions should follow the U.S. and Illinois Constitutions and protect life , liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
Whether it be something that happened on the road or at your home, I have a deep understanding of correct police procedures. I also have the steadfast belief that all men are created equal and deserve equal and respectful treatment under State and Federal Law.
Question: Can the police be held responsible for causing an accident during a high speed chase?
Answer: While it is difficult, it is possible. In Illinois, the law gives great discretion to law enforcement officers on how to carry out their duties in an official capacity. However, there are also laws and policies in place that are meant to protect civilians and bystanders in cases of emergency where the police might incidentally increase the likely hood of danger or harm.
Lanning v. Harris, 342 Ill.App.3d 965, 967–68, 277 Ill.Dec. 581, 796 N.E.2d 667 (3d Dist.2003)
The Illinois courts have decided that the standard of care for Emergency vehicles under certain circumstances such as police or ambulance may be different than that for civilian drivers. The proper standard for determining liability of police officers engaged in a high-speed chase is willful and wanton misconduct, not ordinary negligence.
Question: What does Illinois law say authorized emergency vehicles are able to do?
Answer: There is a specific standard of care which must be followed. The guidelines are stated under 625 ILCS 5/11-205 Public officers and employees to obey Act.
The driver of an authorized emergency vehicle may:
1. Park or stand, irrespective of the provisions of this Chapter;
2. Proceed past a red or stop signal or stop sign, but only after slowing down as may be required and necessary for safe operation;
3. Exceed the maximum speed limits so long as he does not endanger life or property;
4. Disregard regulations governing direction of movement or turning in specified directions.
(d) The exceptions herein granted to an authorized emergency vehicle, other than a policevehicle, shall apply only when the vehicle is making use of either an audible signal when in motion or visual signals meeting the requirements of Section 12-215 of this Act.
(e) The foregoing provisions do not relieve the driver of an authorized emergency vehicle from the duty of driving with due regard for the safety of all persons, nor do such provisions protect the driver from the consequences of his reckless disregard for the safety of others. (Learn More…)
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