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Michigan State Police makes changes to police chase policy

Michigan State Police addresses number of pursuits in new police chase policy
Michigan State Police addresses number of pursuits in new police chase policy 02:23

(CBS DETROIT) - Michigan State Police has enforced new changes to its police chase policy with the goal of limiting the number of pursuits.

According to MSP, the changes come down to safety for both the public and state troopers.

"We made a change that we're only going to pursue now for life-threatening felonies or where an officer believes that an act of violence is taking place against a person," said MSP 1st Lt. Mike Shaw.

CBS Detroit

Shaw says that includes crimes like kidnapping, murder, home invasion, and other serious offenses.

"The reason for that is we can count on the troopers and their driving ability and how they pursue people and all the training that they get, but we can't count on the suspects…and usually what happens if you get into some of these low-level crimes, the suspect will end up hitting an innocent bystander or a trooper will end up getting injured in that pursuit," Shaw said.

Technology plays a major role in assisting with any type of pursuit, Shaw says. Resources that MSP has and continues to utilize during a high-speed chase.

"All of our patrol cars have cameras, we have body cameras now, license plate readers, different tools that we can use to still make that arrest," he said.

Most importantly, this new policy does not mean you're off the hook if you commit a crime.

"They may have thought they got away when they fled away from that trooper on that scene, only to have someone knocking on their door 15, 20 minutes later to take them to jail," said Shaw.

Though this new policy has public safety at the forefront, retired Detroit Assistant Police Chief Steve Dolunt is conflicted.

"If you're driving down the street and thinking about committing a crime and you see a police car with the lights on, you're going to think twice about committing a crime there. So, it's a catch-22. Should I pull you over? Yes. Should you run? No. The only time people run is when they've committed a crime," said Dolunt.

Dolunt understands the importance of safety but feels crimes could get out of hand if not handled right away.

"Bottom line comes down to this, if we don't prosecute people for the little stuff, it's going to get higher, and it's going to lead to police chases," Dolunt said.

This new policy went into effect on Thursday, March 14, and will stay in place indefinitely.

According to Michigan State Police, there were 236 pursuits in 2023. This year, MSP has been involved in 33 pursuits so far.

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