By Candice Cole
FAIRFAX COUNTY, Va. — Fairfax County Police Chief Ed Roessler is rolling out a new policy when it comes police pursuits.
The new chase policy, he said, will replace the one put in place in 1997 and merely puts into writing some of the best practices that his officers have long adopted.
“It’s a brand-new policy. It memorializes the best practices of the Fairfax County Police Department.”, said, Chief Roessler.
He said the process to revamp their policy on how they chase down criminals began in 2013 when he asked the Police Executive Research Forum to review his Department’s use of force and police pursuit policies.
He then followed through with the changes based on recommendations made by the forum back in 2015.
Chief Roessler said, “Our current pursuit policy is a good policy and what we have found is that the men and women of the Fairfax County Police Department as best practice, self-regulate above and beyond the existing policy.”
The new pursuit policy relies on a three-pronged approach which says that the person in pursuit must have committed or be suspected of committing a violent act against a person, refuse to stop when directed, and the need to apprehend must be greater than the risk of danger caused by the chase.
“In essence, if the person’s behavior or the persons in the vehicle are a threat to killing someone immediately, based upon fact, we will continue to chase and use a stopping technique. If those three criteria are not met, we will terminate the pursuit.”, explained Chief Roessler.
Numbers of police pursuits have climbed slightly from 118 to 149 since 2015.
Chief Roessler said those numbers were of violent criminals on the road that needed to be stopped.
He said that he expects those numbers to maintain.
“We have not created any hazard events with these numbers and we’re conducting pursuits in a safe manner that preserves the sanctity of human life., said Chief Roessler.
He said the new police pursuit policy will take effect once everyone, including himself, have been properly trained, which could be as early as the summer.
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