Letter: Teen’s death after police pursuit raises questions

From: Jack Bradshaw


On the front page of The Republic on Aug. 31 is a story titled “Hope man dies in accident.” This article reports that an off-duty Nashville reserve police officer chased young Xavier Scrogham down U.S. 31 and along National Road in Columbus at speeds reaching 120 mph until Scrogham ran off a road and died. Scrogham died after the off-duty reserve police officer “determined” at 11:33 p.m. that Scrogham’s motorcycle had no license plate.

We need law enforcement, but we want our enforcers to be trained, to use good judgment, and to behave with respect for the people they serve. I hope future issues of The Republic give us further and helpful insight into this instance of law enforcement. Here are some questions:

  • Do we want off-duty reserve officers from outside the city and outside of the county enforcing minor traffic violations in Bartholomew County?
  • Is the public served by a high-speed chase exceeding 100 mph through our busy streets, in pursuit of a minor misdemeanor?
  • OK, Scrogham chose hastily and unwisely to run away from a police car marked Nashville Police. Did he deserve to die for this?
  • The reserve Nashville policeman is a 25-year-old hired just last April. How well-trained was he?
  • Why does Nashville need five reserve police deputies, and what are their duties on and off duty?
  • Does each of them drive a Nashville Police vehicle when off-duty?
  • Is it cost-effective to pay reserve deputies, to train them, to supervise them, to equip them?