Shortly thereafter, an officer in the Town of Wiggins saw Reyes's vehicle go past and began to follow it. A member of the Morgan County force joined in, likely prompting increases in speed that ultimately topped 100 miles per hour. When he neared a Weld County location, he radioed that the suspect was dangerous and possibly armed -- an assumption based on comments from Reyes's family that he might be suicidal, because he didn't want to go back to prison. Turns out Reyes had no weapon, but the opposite conclusion was enforced by a subsequent Weld County radio call:
"Morgan County asking for assistance. They're at Hwy 13 and CR 87 westbound on a... it's Hwy 34 and CR 87 on a high speed chase. They're chasing a 2006 Black Nissan suspect in a dangerous, possibly armed, robbery. They're on MAC 7."
Had this communique not implied that Reyes was armed and had engaged in robbery, the chase might have been halted. Instead, it continued, with Brownlee ultimately being shot to death with his own gun, not one Reyes had on his person.
The panel ultimately makes seven recommendations for improvements intended to prevent such a situation from spinning out of control again. Here's the first:
1. On-duty supervisors and deputies must give greater weight to the risk a pursuit represents to the public and themselves
a. Current pursuit procedure operational considerations provide adequate guidance but need more consistent application and accountability
b. Training should be enhanced to include annual objective evaluation of decision making in response to a range of scenarios including the identification of alternatives to pursuit
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