The Chicago Police Department will prohibit chases when the most serious suspected crime is a theft or traffic violation. The change comes nearly four months after a pregnant pedestrian was killed by a car that Chicago police were chasing over a stolen wallet, the Chicago Tribune reports.
If police do start a chase of a motorist for a theft or hazardous traffic violation, the pursuit must stop if the motorist runs stoplights or signs, the new policy says. The policy relies heavily on a “balancing test” to help officers decide whether catching the suspect is worth the risk of harming innocent bystanders.
However, Geoffrey Alpert, a police pursuit expert who teaches at the University of South Carolina, said that “the Illinois State Police’s policy is much more restrictive.” The new Chicago policy actually relaxes the guidelines for an unmarked police car being involved in a chase.
State police prohibit pursuits for anything but a felony crime in which force was used, such as an aggravated battery, armed robbery or murder, said Master Sgt. Lincoln Hampton. “We feel we can always catch up with you later,” he said.