Pursuit policies among different law enforcement agencies create unpredictable and unsafe outcomes

Posted at 6:49 AM, Apr 13, 2018

A driver running from the law narrowly avoids two civilian cars before going the wrong way down a one-way street. It's no box office blockbuster, it's early on a Tuesday morning in April in Cleveland.

Ohio State Highway Patrol tells us their officers giving chase thought the car was stolen. At times, they went after the driver at more than 100 miles an hour, before getting away. State Patrol policies allow officers to chase in situations where Cleveland Police would not be allowed. Cleveland's policy prevents pursuits except when officers are going after someone accused of a violent felony or a drunk driver.

In March, a suspect in a shooting led U.S. Marshals down Euclid Avenue on a high-speed chase before getting away. U.S. Marshals say they can pursue a suspect while minimizing the danger to themselves and the public.

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Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine compiled a set of recommendations for statewide pursuit policies, but they're just guidelines. State Senators we reached out to say creating a uniform set of rules hasn't been a priority.

When we asked the state patrol about it, they told us, "comparing agencies' policies isn't necessarily apples to apples. Each agency's policies are tailored to their needs."

But Dr. Fred Rivara has studied chase policies from around the country and he says having different rules for different jurisdictions creates unpredictable and unsafe outcomes.

"Do those requirements, in fact, limit the number of police pursuits in one jurisdiction but not in another," said Rivara.