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Michigan State Police implements changes to its police chase policy with a goal to limit pursuits

Posted at 8:21 AM, Mar 15, 2024
and last updated 2024-03-15 08:21:24-04

Michigan State Police said it has amended its police chase policy in an effort to align with best practices and reduce harm the public and its troopers.

According to MSP, the new policy takes effect immediately, and troopers can only engage in a pursuit if there's probable cause to believe the driver of the vehicle has committed a life-threatening or violent felony.

“High-speed pursuits are one of the most dangerous circumstances police officers face,” MSP Col. James F. Grady II said in a statement. “A key consideration in any pursuit must be the seriousness of the underlying crime and whether the risks of a pursuit outweigh the public safety benefits of immediately apprehending the suspect. In all decisions, protecting lives – that of innocent bystanders, police officers and fleeing suspects – is of paramount importance and it is for this reason we have revised our policy.”

According to MSP, there were 235 pursuits in 2022 and 236 pursuits in 2023. This year, MSP said it has been involved in 33 pursuits so far.

U.S. Department of Justice statistics found crashes occur in at least 30% of chases and injuries or fatalities occur in 5 to 17% of pursuits.

Troopers also cannot engage in vehicle chases while operating in unmarked vehicles, special service vehicles, or motorcycles, if non-department personnel are in the patrol vehicle, if any of the vehicle's emergency equipment are inoperable, or if an aircraft is able to monitor the vehicle, according to the policy.

A life-threatening felony, according to the policy, includes use of deadly force like murder and attempted murder, armed robbery and attempted armed robbery, arson and attempted arson, kidnapping, and criminal sexual conduct involving a weapon.