Police Pursuits – Managing Risk and Providing Accountability with a Well-Drafted Pursuit Policy

There are few activities police officers do while conducting enforcement activities that give as much of an adrenaline rush other than a good car chase. One of the few experiences where your training, experience and ability all come together for the purpose of ensuring the apprehension of a suspect who committed a crime. Knowing this presented a challenge when writing this article. Experience has proven that agencies must have a comprehensive pursuit policy that limits the initiation of a pursuit and narrowly tailors an officer’s ability to continue the pursuit. As a Police Chief, however, is it right for you to draft a pursuit policy that provides strict limitations? The answer is simple –yes. The reason for such a policy is based on our most important duty as a police leader – officer safety. Too often I hear officers and command staff say that we draft policies to reduce liability. While reducing liability is an important consideration, our primary concern should be the safety of our staff and the citizens we serve.

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