Car Chases Mean Stress for Police Training, Discipline Affect the Outcome

Article excerpt

Police chases are incredibly stressful for police officers, those who train them say.

Officers face a variety of feelings - some physical, some psychological - as they close in on their targets. Anger and fear cross their minds. Hearts pound, muscles contract and adrenaline pumps. That's when a situation can get out of hand and result in an excessive use of force, experts say.

Lt. David Pudlowski, the director of the St. Louis County Police Academy, and Sgt. Richard Simpher, assistant director of the St. Louis Police Academy, were interviewed Tuesday about how officers respond during chases. Pudlowski said that officers engaged in chases were, for the most part, angry. They are mad because the suspect's refusal to stop means that the officers or innocent people could get hurt. Fear kicks in at the end of the chase, when officers have to quickly size up what the suspect - who was brazen enough to run - will do now that he or she is cornered. …