I remember playing cops and robbers on my bike as a kid. We all watched Bo and Luke flee Sherriff Rosco over and over again. High speed chases have become pop culture again with shows like COPS and America’s Most Shocking Police Videos. Don’t forget the Grand Theft Auto video games.

Perhaps that’s why I’ve always been intrigued with the arguments, both for or against, high-speed police chases. Conventional wisdom in Canada says forget it, while their American colleagues prefer the use of the police cruiser as battering ram. Law enforcement have debated it among themselves, changed procedures and used other preferred means, like spike-belts on the highway.

The debate never affected me, until it hit home last night with the death of a fellow community member.

Why could have West Nipissing police have not closed the highway or at least the intersections? Why didn’t the Ontario Provincial Police look after the safety of the public and motorists FIRST, and focus on apprehending the offender later. Just let the guy go for the safety of the rest of us. After all, they had the license plate, description and perhaps even the identify of the offender. They already had his buddy in custody.

My guess is that common sense (and perhaps the procedure book) goes out the window when police heard over the radio: “officer down!” An OPP officer was injured during the RIDE stop for auto insurance comparison.

Sure it’s difficult to second-guess the police. After all, we’re not living in their shoes.

But for what it’s worth, young Angele Penasse wasn’t only killed by this fleeing idiot, they were killed by something that may have been totally preventable.