GENEVA, Ala. (WDHN) — The aftermath of high-speed car chases has been a familiar scene for the Geneva police department lately.
Since September of last year, the police department has recorded seven high-speed chases coming through their jurisdiction two of them coming from other agencies.
“One of them was probably the most reckless he did 100 down Highway 52, passed the police department and jumped the levee, and overturned his vehicle and the only thing we had was a reckless endangerment and eluding police charge,” Chief Mock said.
During car chases, Chief Mock says it’s important for officers to think fast on their feet and balance the duty of catching the bad guy as well as watching out for the safety of others.
“Sometimes we have to back off we had one of those situations where an officer was almost run over at the beginning of the pursuit, but it became so reckless due to driving and road conditions and we caught him another way,” Chief Mock said.
Now, some Alabama lawmakers have grown tired of the problem as they plan to discuss making eluding law enforcement — currently a misdemeanor in Alabama — a felony at the upcoming legislative session in March.
That could be up to 10 years in jail with a 10,000 fine or if there is an injury caused to another person it could be up to 20 years in prison with a 30 thousand dollar fine.
Chief Mock says the bill is well overdue.
“If somebody wants to put themselves in danger that’s bad enough, they put us in danger that’s another story but we signed up for that but another family didn’t,”
But not everybody agrees it should be considered a felony like Geneva County NAACP president James Ruttlen.
He worries if someone drives longer to a well-lit area on a dark road if it would be considered eluding police. He thinks the bill will be targeted toward black people.
“I understand they are dangerous but a cop can have a grudge against a black man and say he eluded him and if he’s a felon already he’s going back to prison,” James Ruttlen said. “Thats why I’m against the bill I think the police will use it for their gain.”