Tired of “brazen disrespect” for police, Charlotte Chief Rodney Monroe wants to loosen rules on police chases, reports the Charlotte Observer. Too many suspects get away, he says, because current policy allows officers to chase suspects only when a life-threatening felony is involved. “At some point we have to send a message back to the criminal element that we are going to come after you,” he said. Monroe couldn’t provide statistics or examples of suspects eluding police, but said officers should have more discretion to pursue suspects in various violent crimes and some property crimes.
Criminal justice experts are skeptical about rolling back restrictions on chases, which can be deadly in urban areas. “Charlotte has had not only a good policy, but a good record when it comes to police pursuit,” said Geoffrey Alpert, a University of South Carolina criminologist and national expert on police pursuits. “I just don’t understand why he would tinker with it.” Charlotte Mecklenburg has a 10-page policy that allows officers to pursue only if they believe the driver or occupant has committed, or is attempting to commit, a life-threatening felony. It’s similar to those in large U.S. police departments. Monroe asked an internal committee to examine the policy. “Right now, if there is a drive-by shooting and no one gets hit, we can’t chase them,” Monroe said. “That needs to change.”