Too many of the metropolitan area’s police chase policies allow dangerous pursuits to occur for questionable reasons. The public will benefit if more restrictive guidelines are put in place.
It’s welcome news that the Mid-America Regional Council, hewing to its principles to work on behalf of areawide solutions to vexing issues, says it will work on general rules that could apply to police chases.
But to accomplish that some police chiefs will need to reduce their bluster and objections to changing their policies.
Take Leawood Chief John Meier, who recently said, “I want to make the critical decisions involving my community, not someone else.” That’s a nice-sounding — but misleading — sound bite. The Leawood Police Department is guided by all kinds of rules and restrictions imposed on it by outside forces, including state and federal laws.
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Bonner Springs Chief Mark Zaretski has the better approach, pointing out that officers in his city embrace more restrictive rules put in place last year. The area’s largest community, Kansas City, has had a tougher chase policy in place for several years, one based on local discussion.
Several cities have shown it is possible to set general regulations, such as pursuing only when a driver or passengers are suspected of committing felonies. That’s a reasonable starting goal for a regional solution.