Multiple car police chases

I’ve noticed on those “World’s Wackiest Police Chases” shows, that sometimes a single fleeing vehicle will have a dozen or more police cars (and a helicopter or two) chasing after it. This seems to be particularly prevalent on the Los Angeles highway system. I can understand having four or five cars in case the lead vehicle is unable to follow on a last-second exit, to provide multiple officers for the take down, etc. But it seems like a dozen police cruisers in close formation at top speed just creates more potential for accidents.

So, anybody know why the police do this?

In case there’s a shootout or a foot chase, I suppose.

When you have a known flight risk and perhaps the dangerous component, there can’t be too much backup.

Furthermore, all those officers want to see a little action. Really!

Multiple cop cars also help to block the road behind the chase, so no gung-ho citizen charges in with his hemi, trying to save the day and be a hero.

Sometimes it’s because there are multiple agencies involved. The state police and multiple cities and counties. Sometimes it’s even several states.

That brings up a related question I had: when the dispatcher says “all units respond” on a chase, what does that mean? I imagine they don’t want literally every car in the county to drop what they’re doing and head to the scene. Is it left up to each unit’s discretion?

I really need to learn more about law enforcement than I see on TV.

It’s not quite the same thing, of course, but we were at a bookstore not long ago and there was a fire in a strip mall across the street. Smoke and flames were breaking through the roof. There had to have been 30 police cars, five EMT vans, eight ladder trucks, no telling how many fire officials’ cars. All told. more like 50 vehicles. Lots of flashing lights – in the daytime. Every way out of there was blocked by responding vehicles. That’s the closest to overkill I’ve seen this far.

In a medium-sized Alberta town I’ve seen about 8 police vehicles plus 2 ambulances show up for one guy who had a cut on his arm and stumbled into a convienience store asking for help. No crime happened while he was there, he was just bleeding all over the chocolate bars. It freaked out the husband of the store’s manager when his friend called and said half the town’s cops were outside his wife’s store.

It probably has a lot to do with how busy the cops are on a given night. Also how dangerous the bad guy or situation is reported to be…

If a situation gets worse, they know the media will be all over them for allowing something to get worse unnecessarily. “Look, these 50 officers were just sitting idle while only two officers chased the criminals! No wonder they away!”