PursuitSAFETY awarded the Dallas Police Department with its 2012 Safer Way Award at the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) conference in San Diego.
The organization recognized the department's lifesaving tactical apprehension policy and training designed to provide officers with a legitimate, sanctioned methodology for apprehending offenders without a vehicular pursuit.
"The policy and training remind officers that alternatives to pursuit exist and that additional resources are available to bring offenders to justice in a safer, more controlled manner," said Dallas Deputy Chief Randall Blankenbaker. I believe the Dallas Police Department pursuit policy to be one of the best in the nation. It has proven to save lives. I would hope that this recognition might encourage other agencies to develop similar policies."
In 2006, the Dallas Police Department instituted a prohibition on all pursuits except for violent felonies. In the two years prior to the change, vehicular pursuit crashes resulted in six fatalities, four of whom were bystanders in the respective pursuits. Other pursuit crashes caused 39 injuries.
In the year after the change, however, the number of pursuits dropped from 354 in one year to 70, with no fatalities in the subsequent year. Of those injuries suffered in the remaining pursuits, none required transport to a hospital.
The department also developed alternatives to dangerous pursuits, such as using plain-clothed officers to direct marked units to places where offenders abandon vehicles, and by selectively deploying tire deflation devices to terminate pursuits.
The department has fostered accountability by keeping its commitment to reviewing its policies and monitoring its officers' compliance by installing 93% of its patrol fleet with video cameras.
The department deploys a Digital Video Recorder Team to review incidents, with the goal of commending and reinforcing outstanding action, while identifying areas for improvement and better training.