Law Enforcement Agencies Discuss Chase Policies

Law Enforcement Agencies Discuss Chase Policies

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A robbery, turn police chase ends with the suspect dead and an investigation into the circumstances surrounding it.

On Saturday, Mobile Police say 16-year-old Edna Harris robbed a man, stole his car, led chase and then crashed into a tree. She died on scene.

A quick search on YouTube shows thousands of police chase videos. Some more daring than others. But reality is it's the law enforcement's job to catch the bad guys and the question is at what risk?

"I think that it's okay to chase at your own risk, but I don't feel that by putting the public in danger, you know when she was killed, that put the public and you know everyone else in danger. So I just don't feel it was necessary," said Cari Johnson.

So to chase or not to chase? Local law enforcement agencies say there are several factors in determining the answer.

"Vehicle pursuits are probably one of the most dangerous encounters a law enforcement can have. The seriousness of the offense, the time of day and traffic conditions, and a lot of these factors have to be weighed in a split second," said Lt. Paul Burch with Mobile County Sheriff's Department.

Lt. Burch says all pursuits require a supervisor's approval on whether to continue or terminate the chase based on those factors.

Sheriff Hoss Mack with the Baldwin County Sheriff's office says public safety is their number one priority.

"Whether we decide to use spikes, which the sheriff's office does use, and a very very rare circumstance, where a road block will be used," said Mack.

In this latest case, Mobile Police tell me whether proper procedures where used is still being determined.

"That is something that we are going to have to consider in our investigation on looking at the entire thing to consider on in the future, some more training? Or everything could have been right on," said Cpl. Chris Levy.

I'm also told that Alabama is one of the few states in where the act of fleeing from an officer is not considered a felony.

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