After examining the pursuit policies of 21 police agencies, the Orange County Grand Jury has recommended more behind-the-wheel training and placing video cameras in patrol cars to monitor chases.
The jury is seeking a model policy for Orange County, where pursuits often cross several cities, many of which have differing procedures on how to handle them, said John Beddow, chairman of the grand jury's Criminal Justice Committee.
"Overall, the policies are pretty good . . . but we thought they could be upgraded," Beddow said Tuesday.
The six-member committee started its study last year, following several controversial pursuits, including one that ended in the beating of two noncitizens in Riverside County and another in which Hong Il Kim, a 28-year-old Korean national, was shot to death in Orange.
The committee did not analyze specific pursuits and steered clear of criticizing any department. It made recommendations to improve existing policies.
Among the suggestions:
* Law enforcement should consider what is a safe speed during a chase.
* Annually review pursuit policies.
* Send field officers to refresher courses on pursuit driving at least every other year or when they transfer into patrol from other fields.
* Place video cameras in patrol cars.
* Address the proper use of force in detaining suspects after a pursuit.
"Adrenaline is up, and it's a little hard to be gentle under those circumstances," Beddow said.
Several police officers said Tuesday their departments already practice some of the recommendations, but that others are not feasible because they cost too much or make it more difficult for officers to do their job.
Sheriff's Lt. Ron Wilkerson said his department will consider sending deputies to refresher courses when they transfer to patrol duties. But because the department transfers many officers from jail duties to patrol, it would be too expensive to send them all through refresher courses, he said.
"We're going to try to find some way to incorporate it," he said. "We think, overall, that the [grand jury] recommendations are good. They're consistent with what everyone is trying to do."