I-Team: NC troopers get new rules for high-speed pursuit

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A spokesman for the Highway Patrol says the new rules are about safety for all involved.

The rules have changed when it comes to when and how the North Carolina Highway Patrol takes up chase. The change comes with the change in administration, albeit seven months later. Col. Glenn McNeill set new rules for high-speed pursuits out in these new guidelines.

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Among the changes, new rules for how and when highway patrol officers can use what's called a PIT maneuver (Pursuit Intervention Technique). It's where a cruiser pulls up next to the rear of another vehicle and bumps it, causing it to spin out.

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Animation: How a PIT maneuver works.



Under the new rules, in most cases, troopers can only use a PIT maneuver in chases at speeds of fewer than 55 mph.

Another change: if troopers are assisting another agency, they can only take the lead if it's OK'd by a supervisor and the suspect is a violent felon. And anytime a supervisor approves a chase, that person needs to file written documentation of that decision.

RELATED: Take a look at the full chase policy (.pdf)

Another change involves motorcycles. Troopers are now prevented from chasing motorcycles if there's a passenger on the bike or the driver is weaving in and out of traffic at high speeds.

At least one former trooper has been sharply critical of the changes. Cary Rogers took to Facebook asking anyone who would listen to help "stop the madness."

Rogers claims to have spoken to a number of troopers who are "dead set against this policy but are unable to speak out against it."
HP spokesman Sgt. Mike Baker pushed back decisively.

"It's not a lot of changes," he told the I-Team. "It basically just spells out in more definition how our policy should be read by our members.

Asked if he felt the changes make it more difficult for troopers to do their job, Baker responded, "Absolutely not."

"Our number one goal," Baker explained, "is to make sure that our members go home at night, as well as the third parties involved and the motoring public - we have a duty to them to see that they remain safe - and to the violator who's involved. The commander does what he deems appropriate to make sure that our membership is safe, the motoring public is safe and the violators are safe, as much as he can do."

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