LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) – Louisville Metro police are changing the way they go after the bad guys.
Louisville Metro Police Chief Steve Conrad said beginning December 7, high speed pursuits are only justified in violent felony cases.
The change came after Conrad said he took a hard look at the police chases dating back all the way to 2007 and he was surprised to see the numbers.
The data showed LMPD has been involved in 283 pursuits, 142 of them have resulted in collisions. Of the 142 collisions, seven people died and 76 people were hurt. Conrad says a lot of those pursuits were not for violent felonies.
The chief said officers are always asked to check themselves before a pursuit by asking "is this arrest worth the potential dangers?" But now, officers also have to ask, "does a pursuit fit the crime?"
Under the new policy a high speed chase is restricted to violent felonies.
Murder, rape, a serious assault or a robbery would be examples of when a high speed chase is justified.
Conrad said he could not speak about the October police chase of a drug suspect that led to the death of Louisville mother Stephanie Melson, due to the fact the case is still under investigation.
But according to the new policy, that case would be an example of when a high speed chase is now not ok.
Conrad said, "There may be times when suspects get away, but we will do what we need to do to try and get that person into custody. I think it's important that we do what's right for our community, we do what's right for our officers in terms of limiting this kind of tactic in situations where we just can't justify its use."
Stephanie Melson's uncle LaMont Melson told us the change won't bring his niece back or change anything for their family. But says the fact that LMPD is looking into shows there's a problem and something needs to be done.
He says at least the change is a step in the right direction and hopefully other families won't have to suffer like they did.
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