Batesburg-Leesville, SC (WIS) - Batesburg-Leesville Councilman Steve Cain has proposed the adoption of a “no chase” police policy, and has asked the Town Manager to immediately suspend all police pursuits.
The proposal comes after a police pursuit that ended in a crash killed a 26-year-old last week.
“We believe that all life is important so I propose that Batesburg-Leesville adopts a no chase policy except in situations defined below,” the councilman said.
The proposal says an officer may engage in a motor vehicle pursuit of a person the officer reasonably believes has committed a violent felony, or has an outstanding warrant for a violent felony including: Murder/Manslaughter, Armed Robbery, Rape or Other Sexual Offense, Felonious Aggravated Assault, Kidnapping, Felonious Hit and Run (Serious Bodily Harm and/or Death), Burglary 1st Degree or Arson.
The proposal goes on to say an officer may not engage in a motor vehicle pursuit of a person who has committed only a misdemeanor, a criminal traffic offense, a traffic infraction or a combination thereof unless there is reason to believe the apprehension of the fleeing subject is necessary to maintain peace and order. If the reason for the pursuit and its nature does not outweigh the safety of the public and officer(s), the pursuit will not be initiated. Exceptions include:
a) Suspicion of DUI – If evidence is gathered by the initiating officer and it is determined that the danger of allowing the fleeing vehicle to continue without pursuit would jeopardize the public’s wellbeing, then the fleeing vehicle creates a higher risk than the pursuit itself.
b) Stolen Vehicles – If the initiating officer can determine that a vehicle is stolen and the driving behavior of the suspect is not a risk to the public’s wellbeing, pursuit may continue. However once the suspect’s driving skills becomes erratic and are a danger to the public, it will be terminated.
c) Reckless Driving – After engaging a reckless vehicle, an attempt is made to stop the vehicle and the vehicle proceeds to evade the attempt, it is up to the officer and supervisor to determine if the vehicle fleeing creates a higher risk if not apprehended then the danger of the pursuit itself.
The seriousness of the original offense, time and location of the pursuit. as well as weather and roadway conditions would be some factors in a decision to chase or not.