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Milwaukee police chief revises police pursuit policy

Police will now be able to pursue cars with ties to drug dealing or reckless driving in specific circumstances


By PoliceOne Staff

MILWAUKEE — Under new changes to the Milwaukee PD’s pursuit policy, officers will be allowed to pursue cars with ties to drug dealing or reckless driving in specific circumstances.

This summer, a civilian oversight board issued a directive pushing Police Chief Edward Flynn to overhaul the policy, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported. He calls the revisions, which were unanimously approved by the Police and Fire Commission Thursday, a “good faith effort.”

Flynn pushed officials to implement serious penalties for people who flee from police at high speeds "if we are going to risk literally life and limb to pursue people."

"Lives are at risk when we engage in high-speed pursuits," he said.

While the changes allow officers to pursue certain vehicles, Flynn said regulations are still in place so drivers aren’t targeted because of neighbor’s suspicions or anonymous tips.

"It can't be a mere hunch or a suspicion or somebody said something," he said.

The existing policy allows officers to pursue a car if they have probable cause that the vehicle, or the people inside, were involved in a violent felony. The policy was tightened so officers cannot pursue for misdemeanors, or nonviolent felonies. Those changes came in 2010 after four bystanders were killed by drivers fleeing police. 

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