Phoenix Police Chases Reduced Sharply
Lives are saved when police don’t chase.
The Associated Press
Published: Sept. 21, 2006
PHOENIX—Police pursuits of fleeing drivers have been cut by 56 percent this year since a new policy took effect in March that forbids the majority of pursuits on city roadways.
The new pursuit policy essentially allows officers only to chase people wanted for violent felony crimes — prohibiting all chases for traffic violations, stolen vehicles, misdemeanors and nonviolent felonies.
The policy mirrors a nationwide trend to restrict pursuits in an attempt to protect the public from unintended carcrashes and deaths.
In the three-month period after Phoenix’s policy took effect, the number of pursuits in the city fell 75 percent from the same period the year before.
Still, Phoenix police say the new policy doesn’t mean people aren’t getting arrested.
Instead, police have been trained to rely more heavily on aircraft and undercover units to follow suspects and to lead patrol officers to them when they get out of their cars.
Aircraft now are involved in 57 percent of police pursuits.
In 2002, before Phoenix police first started looking at their pursuit policy, officers chased 423 fleeing drivers. By 2005, that number had fallen to 67. This year, there have been only 22 car chases.
Since the implementation of the new policy, police said there have been only seven pursuits and none has ended with a collision.
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Phoenix Relying More on Training
Phoenix police say their policy doesn’t mean people aren’t getting arrested. Instead, police have been trained to rely more heavily on aircraft and undercover units to follow suspects and to lead patrol officers to them when they get out of their cars.
More than one in five people killed in Arizona police pursuits over the last three decades were innocent bystanders, according to federal data compiled and analyzed by USA Today in 2015. Read the complete article in The Arizona Republic.
The chart below, provided by USA Today and The Arizona Republic, provides nationwide figures on why police pursue.
Nationwide Stats USA Today 2015