Houston Police Revise Pursuit Policy
August 23, 2006 -- In a move
to better protect officers, pedestrians and motorists from the
potential dangers of police pursuits in our city, the Houston
Police Department (HPD) revised its policy on police chases. The
change essentially prohibits officers from continuing a pursuit
when the suspect is attempting to flee or evade arrest for a Class
C traffic violation only once enough information is obtained to
file a warrant. The policy allows an officer to initially do as
they have been trained and that is to pursue anyone who flees
from an officer of the law. The officer is specifically allowed
to follow the suspect for a short period of time (even on a Class
C traffic charge) to obtain enough information to file a warrant.
The restriction is simply one of several added
over the years. Other factors, which officers must continually
evaluate include the mechanical soundness of the police vehicle,
weather, road condition, population density, and other considerations.
The new policy also adds new slow-speed stopping procedures for
officers who have been properly trained. "This change, as
with previous changes, recognizes the need for our officers to
weigh the Law Enforcement's objective against the potential harm
and risk to the police officer, citizens and the suspect,"
said Chief Hurtt.
The policy leaves in force an officer's ability
to pursue wanted suspects and those who commit Class B misdemeanors
or greater offenses. Also, the door remains open for police to
follow-up with enforcement action on drivers of discontinued pursuits
where the officer is able to obtain the necessary vehicle information
and suspect description. In short, HPD will not be turning a blind
eye to traffic violators. Officers will continue to stop traffic
violators, and they will pursue them to obtain necessary follow-up
information when possible.
information, please contact the HPD Public Affairs Division a