Highway Patrol changes chase rules

July 2, 2010 4:46:38 PM PDT
The North Carolina Highway Patrol says it's rethinking many of its policies related to chases and its review board is changing the rules of engagement for Troopers.

From now on, officers will only get involved in chases started by other law enforcement agencies when a formal request comes into the Highway Patrol 911 center.

The ABC11 I-Team looked at department records and discovered that in 2009 the Highway Patrol was involved with 402 chases. Fifty four of those were started by other agencies.

In 2009, Troopers crashed 31 vehicles during chases. That happened in 7.7 percent of all chases.

Officials say that's why Troopers are always working to improve their driving abilities.

"We teach our Troopers number one, safety for themselves, number two, safety of course for the motor and public. We want all of our Troopers to come home every night safe. And the last thing we want happened is a Trooper getting involved in a collision," explained spokesman Sgt. Jeff Gordon.

As part of the new chase policy, Highway Patrol supervisors are now required to supervise chases - not just listen to radio conversations.

Troopers are also now required to use both their lights and sirens. Until now, the policy simply said they needed to use emergency equipment.

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