Milwaukee police engaged in high-speed chases just 63 times in 2012, according to a recent Fire and Police Commission report reported by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Even though that’s the same number of pursuits recorded for the first eight months of this year, it is down significantly from a high of 271 in 2002. Twenty-four pursuits resulted in crashes in 2012, down from 100 crashes in 2007.
Chief Edward Flynn and commission Executive Director Michael Tobin credited a 2010 policy change for the downward trend. The change occurred after four innocent people were killed by drivers fleeing from police between Dec. 31, 2009, and March 1, 2010. Three of the deaths occurred over just two days. The new policy requires officers to have probable cause that someone in the car is committing a violent felony or is “a clear and immediate threat to the safety of others” before pursuing them. The policy no longer allows pursuits “solely for traffic infractions” or simply because a driver refuses to stop.