Major changes in Oklahoma City’s police pursuit policies will hold officers and their supervisors more accountable when they decide to chase fleeing suspects, The Oklahoman reports. Police Chief Bill Citty unveiled the changes yesterday after a long review of the Oct. 20 pursuit-related wreck that took the life of Sgt. Jonathan Dragus. Police looked at policies of 22 other agencies, finding many had more stringent requirements about when officers may chase.
Under the old procedures, although supervisors had the authority to end chases, they usually deferred to the primary officer involved in the chase. The new rules require a supervisor to take responsibility for every chase. The primary officer will report the conditions — traffic congestion, speeds, information known about the fleeing suspect — and the supervisor will be responsible for calling off the chase if the conditions get too dangerous. “What they are given now in the procedures is a lot more guidance, a lot more specific circumstances which we would expect them to consider when doing a pursuit,” Citty said. Officers still will give chase even for minor traffic violations, but only if the risk of the chase is deemed low.