Police hope to avoid injuries, keep community safe with new vehicle pursuit policy

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INDIANAPOLIS – Two bystanders are injured after an IMPD chase ended in a crash Thursday night. It was the kind of accident police are hoping to avoid under their new vehicle pursuit policy. 

Earlier this week, we learned the details of IMPD’s new vehicle pursuit policy that went into effect in August and how officers plan to implement the changes. Days later, the policy was put to the test when officers responded to a report of a burglary on the city’s west side. 

“Officers tried to initiate a vehicular stop. That vehicle refused to stop ensuing a pursuit which landed us here at the 29th and Meridian intersection,” IMPD Public Information Officer William Young explained at the scene of the incident.

What made officers able to pursue the vehicle is that it fits under the 10 misdemeanor exceptions that the state allows. As previously reported, those are: domestic battery, battery with injury, possession of a handgun with no license, hit-and-run, DUI, theft; pointing a firearm, invasion of privacy, transporting a destructible device and violation of probation.

Officers are restricted from initiating pursuits for minor crimes, like running a stop sign. Chief Deputy Kendale Adams believes this case is well within the policy.

“Every pursuit is evaluated. We’re not able to say within 24 hours everything is fine. But in this particular pursuit, it seems it follows our policy,” explained Adams.

He went on to say that each case is reviewed by supervisors and goes up the chain of command. Right now, IMPD is also evaluating the pursuit numbers to see where the department stands compared to years past.

Adams told us that the numbers so far this year remain consistent, with roughly 400 pursuits each year.

“For some, that may seem a high number,” said Adams, “But when you compare it to the number of offenses that are being committed in our community, there’s no secret here we’re facing a violence issue.”

Now that the new policy is in place after a year of training, Deputy Chief Adams says there’s a bigger conversation to be had.

“Really, we should be looking at the individuals that are responsible for this behavior,” Adams added, “Why are they choosing to run from police?”

IMPD is keeping statistics on how often drivers flee from officers, though it’s too early to tell the impact these changes will have.

Thursday’s chase is still under investigation.

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