Lawmakers and law enforcement push for crackdown on police pursuit punishment

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EVANSVILLE, INDIANA (WEHT)– State Rep. Wendy McNamara told Eyewitness News that statistics show an increase in police pursuits in the Tri-State area recently.

“Police pursuits, or I should say fleeing from police officers has increased double over the last few years,” McNamara said.

That’s why she said she’s pushing for House Bill 1097 to pass. She said if the bill passes, people who do flee from an officer could possibly be looking at a level five felony. The usual level for it is level six.

“It’s my hope and desire that this bill will look in a way so that if you are a repeat offender, that puts the general community and law enforcement at risk, that it will be a level five felony,” McNamara said.

She said she and Sheriff Dave Wedding are working together to try and make this come to life. The goal is to keep everyone safe and Wedding said things can get dangerous if someone does flee from an officer.

“They can accelerate from 0-85 miles an hour in less than 60 seconds. They can run a couple stop signs, a traffic light, and if the person is across the intersection you can have a horrendous crash and serious bodily injury or even death can be resulting from that,” Wedding said.

McNamara said the bill did pass the house 76-17. It now sits in the Senate for debate.

(This story was originally published on March 5, 2021)

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