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Pittsburgh Police Undergoing 'Full Review' of Pursuit Policy

November 24, 2015  | 

A day after a Pittsburgh police chase started by a traffic stop ended in a crash that left a 12-year-old critically injured and four others hurt, the police chief ordered officers to initiate pursuits only if they believe a violent felony occurred, reports the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

The bureau policy on motor vehicle pursuits is undergoing a "full review," police Chief Cameron McLay wrote in a memo sent to bureau personnel Monday.

"Regrettably, too many instances occur where our police pursuits create greater danger to the public than the violations we are seeking to address through enforcement," he wrote.

While the policy is under review, Pittsburgh police officers, as of Monday, are only to "initiate a motor vehicle pursuit where she/​he has reasonable belief the individual(s) in the offending vehicle is involved in a violent, felony crime. Members shall not engage in a motor vehicle pursuit for traffic violations only."

The chase that ended in a crash Sunday (go here for video) was initiated after police saw a car "speed through an intersection without making an attempt to stop at the stop sign," public safety spokeswoman Sonya Toler said. The bureau refused to identify any of the victims, the officer involved or the driver.

Comments (6)

Displaying 1 - 6 of 6

kevCopAz @ 11/24/2015 8:43 PM

The officer(s) who violated written policy on this one should be dealt with severely. This has to stop, these sort of pursuits kill cops and innocents all the time. When will we learn?

Bo2234 @ 11/25/2015 6:00 AM

Hey Kev. Pleeaaase read the whole article, not just this excerpt. I did. Read some others too. You want to hang the officer (s). They did nothing wrong according to Pittsburgh's policy. That's why they are reviewing the POLICY, not what the officer(s) did.

S.S. @ 11/25/2015 6:31 AM

It's not worth it officers. I know that when it happens to us, we get that adrenaline rush and it's hard not to go after the offender. Just please use some "common sense."

Robert @ 11/25/2015 11:19 AM

Bo, I think you are wrong also...unless you have other information.
The article does not say that the current policy allowed pursuits for traffic stops (or red light running)....all we know is this:
1. A chase occurred, that resulted in injuries.
2. The current policy is under review.
3. A temporary policy is in place that only allows chases of violent felonies.
I would assume that the current policy was not violated...but we do not know that from this article. I would also assume that IF the policy was violated OR the policy is poorly written, we will soon have a lawsuit to tell us.
I hope the kid pulls through.

Steven Smithton @ 11/27/2015 5:20 PM

Read the article. The fleeing vehicle had bullet resistance vests, Police Scanner and face masks. A no pursuit policy is not always the answer.

Leonard @ 11/30/2015 4:06 PM

I don't know what drives a police officer to engage in pursuits like this and uncessarily exposing the public to danger. A prosecutor needs to grow a pair and charge one of these officers engaging in this type of reckless behavior. Too many times does the taxpayer end of picking up the tab for an officers poor judgment. I'm sure the city will have more than a few lawsuits because of this.

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