Spokane Police will no longer chase after reckless driving and DUI’s

Some car chases end badly and can risk the safety of both police and the public. That’s why the Spokane Police Department says they’ve decided to not chase some criminals.

Before officers start a pursuit, they have to consider how important it is to catch the suspect.

Now, the department has decided to chase suspects in fewer crimes and hopefully keep the public safer on the road.

Some car chases like one SPD took part in a few months ago was caught on a Ring camera, where police and a suspect were speeding through a neighborhood full of homes, families and kids.

It’s a risky chase that policy pursued to catch a suspect.

Sgt. Terry Preuninger, with SPD, said the department is always talking about car chases and the risks they pose. He said it’s not just their department, but many other agencies across the nation that “wrestle” with this policy and duty to catch people.

“Pursuits are so dangerous for the public and for officers and for the people that we’re chasing that we have to weigh the risk of what we’re chasing a person for and what the potential risks for harm are as we try to catch them,” Preuninger said over the phone.

A post on the Facebook page of “Spokane News” had the general order posted. It said police won’t start a chase for reckless drivers or those under the influence.

They would only start a pursuit if the suspect is involved in a violent crime. Some people were confused, thinking that suspects will be able to get away with their crime.

However, Preuninger said that’s not the case. Police said just because they can’t chase those suspects at that time, there are other ways to catch them.

Ultimately, they don’t think this policy will mean more suspects will be getting away.

There have also been times where a pursuit will start, but officers will stop because it’s too dangerous.

Reckless driving and DUI’s are just the two more common crimes that start pursuits, he said.

Regardless, before officer start a pursuit, they will look at the risks they have to take before doing so.

He said the order just went in yesterday, and there is a process to get it into their policies.

Anyone can view the Spokane Police Department’s policies on the city’s website.