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IMPD to review police pursuit policy

Posted at 7:29 PM, Apr 13, 2016

INDIANAPOLIS --  Across Indianapolis each day, suspects run and police chase after them. And, as often as not, police don't know who or why someone has decided to run from them.

The newly appointed chief of police says vehicle chases must become a balancing act with the issues officers are dealing with in real time. 

"In a major city, when you're driving at a high rate of speed with over one million people, there's a big danger to the citizens of this community. We need to review that and do everything we can to mitigate the risk to our citizens and our officers," IMPD Chief Troy Riggs said. 

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According to figures supplied by IMPD, police engaged in 452 pursuits last year, better than one per day. The vast majority involve more than one pursuing unit resulting in damage to 386 vehicles at a cost of more than $900,000. 

The majority of pursuits hit speeds of 70 to 100 miles per hour, lasted two to three minutes and covered a distance of one to two miles.

The union representing IMPD defends the vehicle pursuits, saying that it's not the officer who initiates the chase, but rather it's the officer who is merely responding to a suspect's decision to flee.The Fraternal Order of Police says the U.S. Supreme Court has weighed in on pursuit policy, ruling that officers have a legal obligation to chase down someone who flees from the law.

"Someone fleeing in a vehicle is considered a violent felony. There aren't too many other violent felonies our community expects our officers to shrug off and look the other way. This shouldn't be one either," Rick Snyder said. 

The chief plans to appoint a blue ribbon panel to study the pursuit policy and make whatever changes are necessary. 

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