KCK police department releases chase policy - KCTV5 News

KCK police department releases chase policy

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The Kansas City, KS, Police Department released its chase policy on Wednesday evening, following KCTV5's formal request Tuesday morning.

They previously refused to release it, claiming "the disclosure is not in the public's interest, would interfere with prospective law enforcement action and criminal investigations."

The policy has many of the same restrictions that experts have praised when looking at the chase policy established by the Kansas City, MO, Police Department.

The overall spirit of the policy comes in the very first paragraph.

"Officers must weigh the need for immediate apprehension against the risk and dangers created by the pursuit," it reads.

Both departments require that the pursuing officer notify a dispatcher and the dispatcher notify a supervisor for approval to continue the pursuit. The KCKPD does, however, have an exception if the pursuing officer holds a supervisory rank of sergeant or higher. In that case, "a superior commander need not be immediately notified."

Another similarity is the limit of two police cars involved in a chase unless a supervisor requests additional cars be involved. In that regard, the KCKPD policy states, "The pursuit will be limited to the initial unit and a secondary unit. All other units will stay clear of the pursuit and shall not leave their assigned areas to become involved in the pursuit unless otherwise specifically directed by a supervisor."

Both policies also make reference to certain particulars in weighing the danger of pursuing versus the danger of letting the pursued driver go free. Besides the obvious traffic-related concerns, they address the severity of the crime, the behavior of the fleeing driver and the likelihood of catching that driver another time.

Here are two examples from the KCKPD policy:

"The supervisor will order the pursuit terminated if the suspect's identity is established to the point where later apprehension may be accomplished and where there is no immediate threat to public safety posed by the suspect's temporary escape."

"Pursuits for traffic and misdemeanor crimes where the perpetrator's identity is known or can be determined will normally be limited to the division in which the pursuit was initiated."

The KCPD policy addresses identification this way:

"A person whose identity is known, who has not been involved in a violent felony, and who can be apprehended at a future time generally should not be the subject of a pursuit."

The Kansas City, MO, Pursuit Policy does include a larger number of specifics. For example, it advises against engaging in a pursuit when a prisoner is in the police car. It also forbids even beginning a pursuit on a stolen car unless it was involved in a violent felony or the driving behavior presents a danger to the public.

There are minor differences. KCPD restricts unmarked cars and police motorcycles from initiating a pursuit "unless there is an immediate threat to the safety or well being [sic]of a person." KCKPD allows those vehicles to begin a pursuit, as long as they have lights and sirens, but requires that they request a marked car to replace them and back down once they are replaced.

The KCPD also has a sentence specifically supporting officers who make the difficult decision to end a chase:

"An officer will not be criticized or disciplined for terminating a pursuit when, in that officer's opinion, the lives or property of others would have been at undue risk if the pursuit had continued."

By and large, however, they are parallel on many of the key points.

Copyright 2014 KCTV (Meredith Corp.) All rights reserved. 

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