Jackson County Sheriff’s Office pushing for stiffer eluding charges

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JACKSON COUNTY, Ala. - The Jackson County Sheriff's Office is pushing for stiffer punishment for drivers who lead them on a high-speed chase.

Chief Deputy Rocky Harnen told WHNT News 19 that they have seen a drastic increase in high-speed chases.

Harnen said it has gone from 60 last year to 82 this year.

Two of the chases in 2019 involving motorcycles ended with the suspects dying from a crash.

“What we’d like to see is a little harsher penalty on those types of chases, those where people exceed a certain speed, maybe 100 miles per hour. The reason being it’s so dangerous, not only dangerous to us, to them, to the general public. It’s just so dangerous.”

Harnen said his department wants legislators to either increase the charges to a felony level or have a mandatory minimum jail time.

He used 30 days as an example.

Harnen told WHNT News 19 they have chased some people multiple times this year.   He said right now, those suspects might get out, pay a fine and do it all again because the punishment is not strong enough.

The Jackson County Sheriff’s Office works with other law enforcement agencies and uses spike strips to stop drivers during high-speed chases.

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