Study Propping Up Washington’s Police Pursuit Restrictions Has Gone Missing


The study that was being cited by legislators to support Washington’s current police pursuit law, which makes police pursuits hard to justify legally, has gone missing from the website that was hosting it.

The URL instead takes potential readers to a dead link, saying, “HTTP 404: Not Found.”

Bob Scales, a critic of the report by retired University of Washington professor of statistics and sociology Dr. Martina Morris, alerted The Center Square to the study’s absence Thursday morning.

“You should be aware that Dr. Morris removed her online analysis of pursuit fatalities after she testified at the committee meeting,” he wrote.

The report appears to have disappeared from the website Wednesday evening after The Center Square reported on Scales’ criticism of the report and linked to it.

Scales charged that Morris’ data was flawed and that reliable statistics from the Washington Traffic Safety Commission showed the deaths of three innocent victims in police pursuits between 2017 and 2021 rather than 13 fatalities.

Morris did not reply to a request for comment asking if the study would be coming back online soon or responding to criticism leveled by Scales and others. However, she did speak to the Washington state House Community Safety, Justice, & Reentry Committee on Tuesday.

“We have evidence that the law is working to improve the public safety issue that it was established for,” she testified. “The statewide number of fatalities from active pursuits has dropped by over 70% in the last year-and-a-half. That’s a lot.”

Scales and other critics counter that police pursuit fatalities haven’t significantly fallen because they were never high to begin with.