How can high-speed police chases become safer for civilians?

A grandmother and her two grandchildren were killed in College Park after a car theft suspect slammed into them while fleeing from police in 2016. The victims were identified as Dorothy Wright, Cameron and Layla.

The man responsible got away, and the victims' family placed some of the blame on officers chasing him. The family sued, claiming the police failed to follow department policies regarding pursuits.

Now, lawmakers are looking at possible ways to make high-speed police chases safer for civilians and police officers.

A state Senate committee is looking at the possibility of setting minimum state guidelines and training standards.

"It's never been more dangerous to be a police officer," state Sen. John Albers told Channel 2's Richard Elliot.

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Albers is chairing the committee looking into ways to make pursuits safer for civilians and for police officers -- and he knows something about running with lights and sirens.

Albers has been a firefighter for nearly 30 years. He believes strongly that each local city and county should set their own pursuit rules, but he isn't against looking into the possibility of setting minimum state guidelines and training standards.

"It's my hope that we'll continue to support them in the way of additional training and resources so (they) can know we've got their back," Albers said.

During a police chase through Gwinnett County in 2015, a suspect died in the crash. The civilian he hit survived. The officer involved was suspended for violating department chase policies.

Albers said he wants to help officers and deputies avoid these kinds of situations.

Keeping civilians safe, he said, will keep officers safe, too.

"I know over the last several years, we've been trying to do our best at the state level to support our police officers who are literally putting their lives on the line every day," Albers said.

The committee will make recommendations to the general assembly, which starts up in January.

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