It's not a game; if you commit the crime, you do the time
Last week deputies were involved in several pursuits that all ended with someone going to jail. A vehicle pursuit causes an increased risk of danger to the deputy, the public, and to the person who is running. Last week a truck failed to stop for a deputy and began to run; and after the truck almost ran another vehicle off the road, the deputy terminated the pursuit for safety reasons. The deputy had also been able to get the license plate number off the vehicle so we were able to identify who it was.
What I find sad in almost each case is the various reasons people chose to make decisions that put so many people in danger. We had a pursuit not too long ago where the driver said he thought he had a warrant and didn't want to go to jail so he ran. We ended up telling him that he had no warrants for his arrest, and so he put the deputies and the public's lives in danger for nothing. He then informed us that it was our fault anyway for chasing him!
This is what I would call re-assigning blame. Someone makes a bad decision that puts into effect a chain of events with inevitable outcome and they want their captivity, punishment, or the fine they pay to be someone else's fault.
A few weeks ago I was on my way to speak at an event and passed a woman several miles outside of town walking on the side of the road in the rain. I pulled over and asked the lady if she needed a ride and she was quick to say yes and get into my car. I asked her where she was headed and she asked me if I could just give her a ride to Wal-Mart.
Although I was trying to make it to an appointment, the little bells that start going off in the back of a cop's head started going off. After asking her a few simple questions, I told her I was going to run her through dispatch out of routine, and also to let them know I would be transporting a female to Wal-Mart. I asked her if she had any warrants or anything and she said no.
I was advised by dispatch however that she had a full extraditable felony warrant. When I informed her that I would be driving her to the county jail instead of Wal-Mart, the look she gave me was the look I would have expected if I had slapped her in the face. She was obviously very upset with the new change in events.
I remembered thinking as I was leaving the jail, I am the one who was trying to be nice and give a lady a ride, so why am I the bad guy now? I am sure she did not want to go to jail, but whose fault was that? No one made her commit the crime that led to the warrant for her arrest.
We are always looking for ways to help those in our jail become more productive and successful when they return to society, but if that help is not given in the right manner, it can be misinterpreted by the offender as a way for them to view themselves as the victim rather than the perpetrator and place the blame for their crime on anyone else. We will continue to look for ways to work with other groups and people when it comes to rehabilitation; but people still need to understand that if you commit a crime, you are not the victim, and you will pay the price for committing that crime.