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Is Arkansas a “No-Pursuit” State?

— January 5, 2023

Pursuing at a safe speed is recommended when hostages are involved or if there’s heavy traffic. 

No-pursuit policies are trending across the nation. These policies prevent police officers from pursuing suspects, and they are intended to promote public safety while minimizing collateral damage. While a police officer may believe that a suspect represents a source of harm for the public, their own actions may put the public in danger when they engage in a high-speed pursuit. But does the State of Arkansas have a no-pursuit policy? What should you do if you were injured in a police chase? Can you sue the police in Arkansas? Let’s find out.

Arkansas’ Pursuit Policy

The National Institute of Justice published an official report for police departments back in 1990. This document defined a “pursuit” as having the following characteristics:

  • The police officer is inside a patrol car and is recognized as a representative of a law enforcement agency
  • The driver is aware that they are being pursued and actively resists being stopped
  • The pursuit begins because the driver has committed actual crimes, such as traffic offenses or felonies
  • Pursuits can occur at any speed

The report then laid out two potential alternative to pursuit, including:

  • Pursuing at a safe speed
  • No pursuit

Pursuing at a safe speed is recommended when hostages are involved or if there’s heavy traffic. 

In 2016, Little Rock adjusted its pursuit policies to be more restrictive. Under these new rules, police can only be authorized to engage in pursuits if the suspect has committed or “will soon commit” a violent felony.

The red and blue flashing lights from a police cruiser in the darkness.
Photo by Michael Förtsch on Unsplash.

The National Institute of Justice then went on to make several recommendations for new pursuit directives:

  • A clear definition of what constitutes a pursuit
  • Clearly identifying the offenses that may justify a pursuit
  • Setting speed limits for police vehicles engaging in pursuits
  • Stating when a pursuit must be discontinued
  • Creating a system that reports and reviews the safety of pursuits

Examples of Innocent People Harmed by Police Chases

In May of 2022, Little Rock was sued after a bystander was killed in a police chase. Multiple people were severely injured in this particular pursuit. In June of 2021, an Arkansas state trooper was sued after engaging in a police chase that flipped the car of a pregnant woman. The trooper tried to pull the woman over because she was going 84 in a 70 mph zone, but the woman allegedly decided to keep going and stop in a safer location where there was a larger shoulder. 

Where Can I Find a Qualified Police Brutality Attorney in Little Rock?

If you’ve been searching for a Little Rock police brutality attorney, there are many options available. These legal professionals can help you hold police officers and departments accountable for dangerous pursuits, excessive force, unconstitutional searches, and much more. Book your consultation with a police bruality attorney today to pursue real results in a confident, effective manner. 



If you have further questions about this article or legal concerns, call 800-672-3103

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