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Phoenix Police Rethinking Traditional Foot Pursuits

October 12, 2015  | 

Photo: Facebook
Photo: Facebook

In January 2014, Phoenix police asked ASU researchers to develop a plan for data collection on officer-involved shootings, to help identify patterns in what can be polarizing events for a community.

The Phoenix Police Department has now joined a number of agencies around the country that are considering or have already penned a policy dictating how officers should react when faced with a fleeing suspect. The Phoenix department, like other Valley agencies, currently has no written guidelines of the sort, reports

Researchers and a team of Phoenix police employees have recommended the agency look to the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, which has introduced a policy that restricts how and when an officer should engage in a foot pursuit.

While the policy never outright bans pursuits in the presence of certain dangerous elements, it urges officers to consistently reassess a dynamic, fluid situation, and to place the safety of the public and personnel as a top priority.

It discourages officers from solo pursuits and from giving chase if they believe the subject is armed. Alternatives for apprehension should be taken into consideration, as well as the severity of the suspected crime.

The tactics go hand in hand with a broader, nationwide push to train police in "de-escalation" techniques that could help prevent situations that could justifiably call for the use of deadly force.

But some police supporters say overly codifying police work may leave officers feeling hamstrung to the point that it affects their crime-fighting priorities.

"We're very pro-training and education," said Ken Crane, president of the Phoenix Law Enforcement Association. "But let's not get officers so over-encumbered by rules that they say, 'I'm not even going to go after him — it's not even worth it.' "

Comments (5)

Displaying 1 - 5 of 5

Javier Cornejo @ 10/12/2015 4:36 PM

Law enforcement is a dangerous occupation. Training, experience and back up from your fellow officers help off set these dangers. I'm all in favor of having "guidelines" and traininig for officers on how and when to conduct a foot pursuit, but to set rules is beyond my comprehension. Bad guys run from the police, police catch bad guys. It's been that way since the beginning. If cops aren't allowed to go after the bad guys then what's the sense. It's what we do. It's what we are suppose to do. If cops don't go after the bad guys, who will? There will always be danger in law enforcemet, it's our training, experience and back up that make the difference.

Richard @ 10/12/2015 4:56 PM

This s an impressive looking shield and would be proud to wear it.

Rob @ 10/12/2015 5:22 PM

Gee, "de-escalation" described here sounds like just turning your back and walking away. God forbid if an armed and dangerous felon gets shot. Where will this crap end?? Glad I'm retiring in 3 years.

Chicago Cop @ 10/12/2015 9:33 PM

Not Phoenix or anywhere else

Chicago's Mayor Rahm Emanuel says the C.P.D. has gone "fetal".

What did he expect after two outsiders as Superintendent, cutting their ranks by over 3,000, shifting supervision responsibilities of Watch Commanders and Captains to Sergeants. Not to mention everything else like Ferguson.

For more details:

kevCopAz @ 10/13/2015 7:59 AM

Ken you have it correct, police work comes down to the officer at the scene not on rules that try to control each move they make. Im sorry but foot pursuits can be dangerous but are part of police work They want to "de-escalate"they will if they prohibit solo pursuits altogether since Phx, like most cities, have solo units. If they want Cops to just stop doing police work have the balls to say so and admit they do not want any confrontation (or police work) done at all. Then we will have a completely politically correct "de-escalated" non confrontational friendly (but altogether useless) police force. I am glad that Im retired. The clowns that think of this rules are amazingly uneducated in police work and common sense and way over educated with degrees. Crime fighting is not optional, its not a sport,its not 100% non confrontational and can't be arm chair quarterbacked from the chief's office, unless you want (will get) do nothing, non law enforcing cops on the street. ASU butt out!

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