Several weeks ago the Milwaukee Police Department changed its pursuit policy to where officers can only pursue if they have probable cause that a violent felony has occurred. This is a progressive step for the department.
In late 2001, my then 20-year-old sister Sarah was on her way home from the movies when she was hit and killed by a man fleeing police. Like the four victims in Milwaukee since December 31st, Sarah’s case shows just how serious the decision to pursue must be taken.
Detractors argue that this will allow the bad guys to run wild on city streets. I could not disagree more. There is not a significant portion of the population on the fence waiting to hear what the policy is. People either listen to the police when asked to pull over, or they don’t. Those who don’t are usually young, stupid, and just don’t want to go to jail. Those who disagree with the policy change also need to understand that just because the initial officer loses sight of the suspect does not mean they will get away. Modern technology allows us to run a license plate in seconds, put a helicopter in the air, or simply radio other officers in the area.
As a friend and former police officer once told me, “Sometimes police forget that their job is not to catch the bad guy, but rather it is to protect the public.” Given this policy change, the Milwaukee Police Department understands this.
This has been submitted to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Next, a Delegate in Virginia is proposing "legislation to study the introduction of statewide guidelines for high-speed chases, a proposal that was prompted by the recent death of a Richmond pastor who was killed by a vehicle fleeing Henrico County police."
You can read the article HERE. It is very early in the process, but this looks like a step in the right direction.
Finally, I ran across a BBC story from late 2007 in which I am quoted. Check that out HERE.