The Dallas Police recently revised their "chase" policy to ONLY pursue fleeing Felons. In Dallas, non-felons only need to FLEE and police pursuit will CEASE! Amazing! The policy reason appears sound on the surface, but is ludicrous in practice IMHO.
The DPD also has ceased responding to security alarms - just watch the burglarly rate rise!
Edited to add: Dallas Mayor Laura Miller attended the Bloomberg anti-gun summit last month!
I'd love to hear the thoughts of those more experienced in these matters.
Revamped chase policy aims for safety:Guidelines among the most stringent in U.S.
11:35 PM CDT on Friday, June 2, 2006
By TANYA EISERER / The Dallas Morning News
Police chases are about to take a different turn in Dallas.
Dallas police will still pursue fleeing motorists who have committed violent felonies. Other suspects may have to be arrested another time.
Police Chief David Kunkle announced Friday that he was implementing a tough new police-pursuit policy.
"In my view, the city will be a much safer place to live," Chief Kunkle said. "We'll have fewer citizens killed and injured as a result of this policy and fewer officers injured or killed."
He said he decided to tighten the policy because of the "inherent danger of pursuits" and because he didn't feel he could justify letting officers chase suspects for minor offenses, such as running a red light, shoplifting or driving while intoxicated. According to news accounts, at least 10 people have died in accidents involving police chases since 2004. Six of those died in 2005.
The new policy, which is expected to be implemented soon, will place the following restrictions on chases:
• Only offenders suspected of violent felonies – such as kidnapping, rape, murder or robbery – will be pursued.
• Officers may pursue a fleeing motorist based only on what they know about the person. They can't make assumptions.
• When officers from other jurisdictions enter the city, Dallas officers will join in only if the person fleeing is suspected of a violent felony.
Under the previous policy, Dallas officers could chase drivers for traffic violations and other Class C misdemeanors until it was "apparent that the violator will do whatever is necessary to evade the officer."
Dallas' new chase policy will be among the most stringent in the nation and similar to those in place in Phoenix and Orlando, Fla. The new policy would be tougher than the policies in place in other North Texas cities such as Arlington, Richardson and Fort Worth.
"I believe we will establish a new standard for pursuits in North Texas," Chief Kunkle said.
Geoffrey P. Alpert, a professor of criminology at the University of South Carolina who has written extensively on police chases, praised the changes and said he hoped rank-and-file officers would be supportive.
Chief Kunkle has "taken a huge step forward, a very progressive step forward in making Dallas a safer place," Dr. Alpert said. "It's what progressive chiefs are doing in other cities."
Reaction from the department's police associations was muted, with several leaders saying they did not want to comment because they had not had a chance to review the new policy.
Some police officials expected that the department's rank and file would be strongly against such a change.
Senior Cpl. Glenn White, president of the Dallas Police Association, said the day might come when police don't chase a suspect who, it later turns out, has kidnapped a young child.
"But preventing injuries to officers is important, and preventing injuries to citizens is also important," Cpl. White said.
Lt. Rick Andrews, head of the Dallas Police Executive Lodge, which represents higher-ranking officers, said he had not seen the policy but it appeared that the chief's "heart was in the right place" and that he was trying to make the city safer.
Lt. Andrews had previously said he did not favor tightening the chase policy because he feared it would encourage criminal behavior.
Chief Kunkle ordered a review of the chase policy after a fatal August 2004 pursuit in which a man fleeing in a stolen vehicle struck and killed another motorist. Under the new policy, motor vehicle theft would not be cause for a chase.
The new policy would have eliminated as much as two-thirds of all police pursuits last year, and perhaps more. In 2005, there were about 355 police pursuits. Roughly 230 of those were for traffic violations and stolen vehicles.
So far this year, there have been about 140 pursuits and one death, in late May, involving Dallas police. That includes about 55 pursuits for traffic violations and about 25 pursuits of stolen vehicles.
The death in May might not have involved Dallas police if the new policy had been in effect.
That pursuit began when a Dallas County constable tried to stop a car with a missing inspection sticker and an expired registration. The chase ended when a Dallas police squad car and a car driven by a fleeing motorist slammed into each other in Far East Dallas. The fleeing motorist died. A passenger in the fleeing car and the officer were both injured.
Two recent police chases crystallized Chief Kunkle's decision to sharply limit when his officers may engage in hot pursuits.
A mid-March pursuit over $600 worth of stolen merchandise involved speeds of up to 115 mph and ended near downtown with the fleeing motorist crashing head-on into a squad car and hitting two more vehicles.
In a pursuit about a month later, a man carjacked a woman at gunpoint and fled from police at high speeds before hitting a vehicle and injuring the woman and a young child inside.
Pursuing a violent offender, Chief Kunkle said, "was necessary to make the city safer." But, he added, he couldn't justify chasing after a shoplifting suspect and endangering others.
Staff writer Holly Yan contributed to this report.