FRANKFORT, Ky. (WTVQ) – A bill passed a House committee Wednesday in Frankfort that would require every law enforcement agency in the state to have a police pursuit policy.
House Bill 298 sponsor Rep. James Tipton, R-Taylorsville, told the House Judiciary Committee that his bill is intended to prevent innocent bystanders from being killed during police chases.
He dedicated the bill to 18-year-old Jill Tyler Hurst, a Lawrenceburg teen who died last year, days after she was thrown from a vehicle that was hit by a car being pursued by police in Anderson County.
Tipton says there were six other fatalities in the state caused by pursuit-related crashes around the same time as the wreck that led to Hurst’s death.
Under “Jill’s Law,” every law enforcement agency in Kentucky would be required to have a police pursuit policy that would be reviewed annually. Additionally, no law enforcement officer could be involved in a police pursuit without specific training, which would be completed as part of their required in-service training.
Criminal suspects charged with misdemeanor second-degree fleeing and evading as a result of being involved in police pursuits would could lose their driver’s licenses for 30 days to as long as one year, per the measure.
Representative McKenzie Cantrell, D-Louisville, asked Tipton how many agencies in Kentucky are without police pursuit policies now. He said there are no exact numbers yet.
Representative John Blanton, R-Salyersville, asked Tipton to consider amending the bill to require proposed mandated training for officers every other year to accommodate the “number of law enforcement personnel we have around the state.” Tipton said he is open to that discussion.
Speaking alongside Tipton in support of HB 298 was Hurst’s friend Addison McCoun, a student at Western Hills High School in Frankfort. McCoun told the committee that the legislation is important to spare other lives.
“If this high-speed chase didn’t occur, Jill would be here with me today,” she said. “It shouldn’t have happened, and it should never happen again.”
HB 298 now goes to the full House for consideration.