By Jesse Garza
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
MILWAUKEE — Milwaukee police officers must now have probable cause that a violent felony has occurred rather than reasonable suspicion of a serious offense before engaging in vehicle pursuits of suspects.
That new policy, made public Monday, is drawing criticism from the union that represents rank and file officers and the chairman of the Common Council's Public Safety Committee. Ald. Bob Donovan said the new policy takes discretion away from officers while encouraging criminals to disobey police.
"So now, if a burglary suspect or drug dealer jumps in a vehicle and refuses to stop for a patrol car, he'll be able to take off and get away because the crime was not a violent felony," Donovan said in a statement issued Monday. Since Dec. 31 four people in three separate incidents have been killed by drivers fleeing Milwaukee police.
The last incident, March 1, involved pursuit of a stolen vehicle. An incident on Jan. 1 involved a stolen vehicle driven by an alleged drunken driver.
A fatal crash Dec. 31 involved a vehicle with no front license plate that police already had stopped chasing.
Read full story: After 4 deaths, Milwaukee police pursuit policy changed