Home » Trooper: Vehicle pursuits up across Iowa | News, Sports, Jobs – Fort Dodge Messenger

Trooper: Vehicle pursuits up across Iowa | News, Sports, Jobs – Fort Dodge Messenger

by Arifa Rana

Apr 9, 2022
Vehicle pursuits are increasing across the state, according to Iowa State Patrol Trooper Paul Gardner.
Gardner gave a presentation on Iowa Department of Public Safety data on vehicle pursuits to the Webster County Crime Stoppers on Friday at the Best Western Starlite Village Inn and Suites.
In 2019, the DPS was involved in 224 vehicle pursuits statewide.
In 2021, that number increased to 384.
Overall, there’s been a 20 percent increase in vehicle pursuits across the state over the last five years, Gardner said.
Last year, five officers sustained minor injuries during vehicle pursuits, and no serious injuries were reported, Gardner said. There were 44 suspects injured, mostly during crashes from the pursuit or being aggressive while being arrested.
“The reason why they’re running, most of them — 81 percent of them in 2021 — were for misdemeanor traffic violations, so anywhere from a speeding ticket to maybe a stop sign ticket,” Gardner said.
Around 10 percent were for operating while intoxicated or reckless driving and 9 percent were for outstanding warrants.
Gardner said about 88 percent of suspects in pursuits are apprehended and charged.
Vehicle pursuits are also costly. In 2021, there was $452,000 in vehicle damages to suspect vehicles, and $203,000 in other property damage caused by pursuits. DPS vehicles sustained around $220,000 worth of damage as well.
In Iowa State Patrol District 7, which includes Webster County and the surrounding area, the DPS was involved in seven vehicle pursuits last year, about 1 percent of the total number of pursuits statewide.
The Davenport area has the highest percentage of DPS-involved pursuits, Gardner said — about 30 percent.
Overall, the month with the most vehicle pursuit activity is April, with Sundays being the most active day of the week. About two-thirds of vehicle pursuits happen between 6 p.m. and 6 a.m.
“The majority of them are very short-lived, just maybe a few minutes,” Gardner said.
As the weather begins to warm up, motorcycles take to the roads and account for 15 percent of the patrol pursuits, Gardner said.
Gardner also talked about the techniques and tactics troopers use to stop vehicle pursuits. He also explained what situations may arise to cause the pursuing officers to decide to “call off” the pursuit — oftentimes if the pursuit is at a high-rate of speed and nearing a heavily populated area, creating more risk for bystander injuries if the pursuit continues.
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