News 5 Investigates: MPD chase policy

Mobile County
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MOBILE, Ala. (WKRG) — It’s been a busy few weeks for Mobile Police, starting off the new year with nine police chases. Some of those were in the middle of the day with plenty of people on the roads.

Chief Lawrence Battiste says in order for police to chase someone, the reward of arresting the suspect has to outweigh the risk of harming the public in the process.

“If we’re going to be pursuing, we’re going to be taking somebody off the street has shown the propensity to be violent and a total disregard for public safety,” said Chief Battiste. 

Last week, police chased a suspect wanted for a shooting that happened as kids were coming home from school. “We believed at that time, the risk of taking them into custody was in the best interest of public safety.”

In other words, Mobile Police didn’t want to let a potentially violent offender walk away.

Days earlier, a chase that started with Prichard Police ended in a Mobile restaurant’s kitchen. In that case, Mobile had the authority to call it off but didn’t.

20-year old Leddarius McMillian was arrested. He was wanted for questioning about a homicide.

Less than a week before that, Carlisha Pettway and Miracle Spelton were arrested for a police chase on I-10 in the middle of the day. Their car wrecked on the interstate.

Police started that chase after they say Pettway shot into a car after a fight.

In 2018, police made an arrest in 115 of 137 chases. 22 of them were called off.

So far this year, although it feels like a lot, there’s been just nine chases.

Chief Battiste says they’ll call off a chase if a supervisor doesn’t approve it, poor weather, or it’s just too dangerous. 

All officers in the department complete about forty hours of defensive driving training for police chases.

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