The Wisconsin Justice Initiative has asked the Milwaukee Fire and Police Commission to undertake a full review of the city's police pursuit policy that has resulted in an increasing number of dangerous pursuits and accidents.
"We know that police chases are dangerous, and we know that they have not made Milwaukee streets safer," WJI Executive Director Gretchen Schuldt said in testimony prepared for the commission meeting last week. "While it is good news the number of fatal crashes was down last year, the overall number of crashes was up, as was the number of crashes with injuries. Also up, the number of crashes involving speeding, failure to yield, inattentive driving, and disregarding traffic controls. Hit-and-run crashes also increased. These numbers are not indicative of a successful policy."
WJI reported last month that the number of police chases increased 155 percent from 2017 to 2018, the result of a deliberate loosening of restrictions on when officers can pursue fleeing suspects. Chase-related injuries also were up sharply. Two-thirds of chases resulted from traffic offenses, not serious crimes.
Commissioners said they would hold further discussions on the pursuit policy and would announce the dates of those discussions later.
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