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MPD doubles down on pursuit policy following two deadly crashes

Posted at 6:19 PM, Apr 25, 2019
and last updated 2019-04-26 13:24:57-04

The Milwaukee Police Department is doubling down on its pursuit policy after several recent high profile chases resulted in injuries and even death over the past week.

Police say if they were to revert back to no chasing, criminals would return to a sense of lawlessness on the streets.

The result of two high-speed chases last week in Milwaukee sadly ended in a similar way. Mangled vehicles, including a school bus, could be found Thursday at 40th and North. Then a car went into a house Saturday at 13th and Capitol. Both incidents left innocent bystanders injured. Both took the lives of suspects on the run.

It touches a nerve for Patrick Smith who was there to witness the aftermath.

"It always ends up in something like this or somebody crash and somebody dies," Smith said. "The kids they be chasing are so scared, the adrenaline rush to get away. They’re not knowing what they’re doing, they’re just trying to get away."

"Make no mistake about it, this is the most dangerous thing that any law enforcement officer can do," said Assistant Police Chief Ray Banks.

Banks knows all too well that for several years Milwaukee had one of the most restrictive chase policies in the country.

"There was a sense of lawlessness on our streets and we know that because during jail questioning of prisoners they would indicate we can't pursue," said Assistant Chief Michael Brunson.

That all changed in 2017 after the department saw a dramatic increase in car-jackings and mobile drug traffickers.

"Individuals knew I can deal from my car, not in my neighborhood, pull away, drive away even if the police come towards me, they can't apprehend me," Banks said.

That is no longer the case and Milwaukee police say they’ve seen a dramatic decrease in crime.

Alderman Russell Stamper stands by Milwaukee police chasing reckless drivers, but he says there could be some alterations to the policy to make the streets safer.

"We’re going to have to see what we can do to hold supervisors and police officers for a little more awareness of their surroundings," Stamper said.

Chief Morales said each officer can determine when to a end a pursuit if it becomes too dangerous. Statistics show 38% of chases last year were terminated.