Following a pair of deadly police chases, IMPD looks to finalize update to pursuit policy

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. -- A pair of recent high-speed crashes resulted in the deaths of two men in Indianapolis. In both cases the suspects were trying to escape a police pursuit.

The Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department's (IMPD) current rules about police pursuits were put in place 12 years ago. Following the pair of deadly crashes, police say they are nearly finished with a lengthy update of the pursuit policies.

Flipped on the side on Wednesday evening, the driver of a stolen truck died and two passengers were injured while trying to speed away from a routine traffic stop on Indy’s west side.

Police say the pursuing officer terminated the chase after less than two minutes, but that didn’t stop the suspect from losing control.

“The driver was driving erratically so the officer making excellent judgement decisions shut his emergency equipment off in the hopes that this individual would slow down and start driving normally,” said IMPD Major Harold Turner.

The brother of the man killed disputes the police claim that the chase had been terminated.

Close to six hours later, around midnight, Major Turner says an East District officer spotted another driver speeding into oncoming traffic.

That officer also gave chase and the pursuit lasted less than 30 seconds before the car crashed into a utility pole and burst into flames, killing the driver inside.

“Our officers do a great job trying to protect the city the best they can and this officer was doing just that, trying to get this stopped before they crashed into another innocent bystander,” said Turner.

The pair of crashes comes just a few weeks after IMPD leadership got approval of the final draft updating to the general order detailing guidelines for police pursuits.

The rules were put in place back in 2007 and had been under review since 2016.

“I’ll admit it’s taken longer than any of us hoped for, but I think the final policy will be a good one. One everyone can live with,” said assistant IMPD chief Randal Taylor.

Taylor wouldn’t provide specific details on the new policy until officers have finished training, but says the goal is to protect the public and police.

“Hopefully the public will realize we’re taking them into account and don’t want to put them into danger on something minor, so the new policy takes into account why we’re pursuing,” said Taylor.

The assistant chief made no promises on a timeline, but says the last step in formalizing the new pursuit policy will be to get supervisors and officers trained on the charges.

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