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Suburban police can conduct high-speed chases in Cleveland, but the city's own officers can't

City wants changes to county-wide policy
Posted at 5:39 PM, Sep 02, 2016
and last updated 2016-09-02 17:57:28-04

Neighbors in Cleveland are demanding changes following a high-speed police chase that ended in a violent crash on Thursday night. That chase started in Strongsville around 7:45 p.m. but ended within Cleveland city limits at W. 41 St. and Lorain Ave.

A Strongsville police cruiser collided with the U-Haul van that officers were chasing. The crash took out a tree and a cross walk signal.

David Ellison owns an architecture firm at the corner. He said he’s spent years beautifying the once blighted block.

“It’s not some no-man’s land,” Ellison said. "Lorain Avenue has people who live and work on it, who walk back and forth on the sidewalk. They can’t be running at high speed, chasing criminals from the suburbs down our city streets.”

Officers gave chase following a reported burglary at Sheiban Jewelers on Pearl Road in Strongsville. Chief Jim Kobak said they arrested Quaminique Macklin of Detroit, but said two others involved got away. Macklin is charged with felony theft, burglary and fleeing/eluding.

Chief Kobak declined to answer questions on camera, citing the ongoing police investigation, but provided newsnet5.com with a copy of the district’s pursuit policy, which does include a county-wide provision allowing “inter-jurisdictional” chases.

It’s a policy Cleveland City Council Safety Committee Chair Matt Zone wants changed.

“They went through the city of Berea, Middleburg Heights, Brookpark to get to the city of Cleveland?” Zone said. "What they should have done is radio’d Cleveland dispatch and allowed Cleveland to handle it as the car was pursuing.”

Zone said Cleveland Safety Director Mike McGrath is drafting a replacement policy, which would tighten rules on inter-jurisdictional chases.

Currently, the city has some of the strictest rules on pursuits. Cleveland officers are only allowed to chase when drunk drivers or suspected violent felons are involved. Officers are also not allowed to exceed 35 miles per hour and cannot leave city limits.

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