Police chase procedures in question after death of two teens
CENTRAL - Both the Central and Baton Rouge police departments had a decision to make Tuesday.
In Central, a stolen car entered city limits around 3 p.m. Central Police tried to box in the driver at a red light, but the driver sped off recklessly.
"He actually was driving southbound in the northbound lane," Clifton Ivey, Assistant Central Police Chief, said.
According to Ivey, because of rainy conditions and the car being driven on the wrong side of the road, police decided to let the driver go before a chase could start.
"The senior officer on duty ordered the action at the time to stop," Ivey said.
In Baton Rouge, it was a similar situation.
BRPD told WBRZ someone shoplifted from a Dollar Store. Police initially started chasing the driver until they stopped because of traffic.
Ivey says Central has a policy that decides when a chase should take place. He described it as a balancing act.
"We have a totality to circumstance policy when it comes to vehicle chases. We have to balance the safety of the public and the need to pursue," Ivey said.
The discussion on police chases has only heated up after two girls were killed in a car crash over the weekend when an officer in pursuit blew through a red light and smashed into their car.
District Attorney Tony Clayton said in a statement "If it involves putting human life in danger, stop the damn pursuit."
Attorney Jarrett Ambeau is representing the family of one of the girls who died in last weekend's crash. He wants to know how cops decide when a chase is necessary.
"We're going to ask some really tough questions about accountability. What are the protocols in terms of these high-speed chases?" Ambeau said.
Ivey says a lot goes into that decision, including how serious the crime is.
"It has a lot to do with the severity of the offense, and the danger the offender poses to the community at large," Ivey said.
Ivey also told WBRZ Central will not chase non-violent misdemeanors.
Central Police still have not caught the driver in the stolen car.
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