Kentucky House passes bill requiring police pursuit policies
FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — Legislation requiring Kentucky law enforcement agencies to develop pursuit polices passed the House on Wednesday after an emotional tribute to a teenager whose death spurred the proposal.
The measure is known “Jill’s Law” in honor of Jill Hurst. She died last year after the car she was in was struck by a suspect being pursued by police in Anderson County.
During House discussion of the measure, Democratic Rep. Cluster Howard, his voice choked with emotion, read excerpts of a letter written by a friend of Hurst’s.
The bill passed the House 84-8 and now goes to the Senate.
It would require all of Kentucky’s law enforcement agencies to develop a vehicle pursuit policy and submit it to the state Justice and Public Safety Cabinet. It also would set training requirements for officers before being allowed to be involved in pursuits.
Republican Rep. James Tipton, the bill’s lead sponsor, said it’s not a criticism of law enforcement, but is meant to help protect the public and officers.
“This is about what can we do to try and make a difference to help prevent these situations from happening in the future,” he said.
The legislation would not mandate any specific policy on pursuits, Tipton said.
But the policy would need to cover such matters as initiating and discontinuing pursuits. Law enforcement agencies would have to review the policy with each of their officers.
Another key component would require training. Before being allowed to be involved in a pursuit, officers would have to receive four hours of emergency vehicle operations training every other year. They would have to complete the training by Dec. 31, 2022, and every two years after that.
Hurst’s friend Addison McCoun testified in support of the bill at a committee hearing. She said her friend “would be here with me today” if the chase hadn’t occurred, the Courier Journal reported.
“This legislation will protect every citizen of our commonwealth.,” she told lawmakers last month.
The legislation is House Bill 298.