August 1, 2023
Due to recent interest in a June 30th incident in which a Trooper performed a Tactical Vehicle Intervention (TVI) maneuver on a fleeing motorist, the Arkansas State Police (ASP) wishes to clarify details on the incident.
“We stand by our Trooper,” said ASP Colonel Mike Hagar. “And we stand by the decision he made, considering the totality of the circumstances.”
ASP was involved in only the final few seconds of the pursuit that Little Rock Police Department (LRPD) officers began. Before ASP engaged, LRPD had pursued the motorist for approximately 5 miles. During that time, the motorist had tail lights off, reached 115 mph and accelerated even after LRPD employed blue lights. Also of note is that the motorist passed at least two hospitals on Interstate 630, refusing to stop for LRPD.
Neither the driver, who later said she was transporting a passenger for medical treatment, nor the passengers in the vehicle were injured in the TVI, which occurred near Baptist Medical Center in Little Rock. The driver was charged with Misdemeanor Fleeing, not a felony, as was erroneously reported earlier this week and has since been widely circulated.
Troopers are trained to consider numerous factors to reduce risk of serious physical injury or death to innocent members of the public, the officer, and the suspect. It is ASP’s duty to put the safety of the public ahead of all other factors.
Little Rock Police Chief Heath Helton expressed his appreciation for the strong partnership between his agency and Arkansas State Police. He explained that LRPD and ASP routinely work together to manage emergencies in the safest way possible.
“The Little Rock Police Department has a responsibility to protect and serve members of the public in this city,” Chief Helton said. “If there is a threat of criminal activity of any kind, we are obligated to pursue and investigate the threat. To that end, we enjoy partnerships with all local law enforcement agencies, including the Arkansas State Police, as we each work to combat issues of public safety.”
Any medical emergency that would warrant high rates of speed necessitates calling an ambulance or dialing 911. In this case, the motorist should have pulled over for law enforcement, who have emergency medical training and who could have aided in safe transport to the closest medical facility. Driving to the emergency room does not give someone a free pass to speed, violate laws and endanger the public.
“It’s very important for the public to trust their law enforcement. We also need to be able to trust our media partners and to know that what they’re saying is true,” Colonel Hagar said. “We’ve made a real effort in the past 7 months to build relationships and improve responsiveness and transparency. Providing comprehensive information and important context to the public is key to that. We will continue to be professional, open and responsive in hopes that ASP will be afforded the same courtesy.”
DETAILS ON JUNE 30th PURSUIT RELEASED
August 1, 2023