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What leads to a police chase getting called off?

BLACKFOOT, Idaho (KIFI) - A police chase in West Yellowstone was called off after the suspect struck the chief's car, causing it to roll over multiple times. More on that story you can be found here.

Local News 8 wanted to learn more about the circumstances involved when police chases are called off.

"Each jurisdiction is different. But in Blackfoot, we currently see about 15 to 25 vehicle pursuits a year, and they range from misdemeanor to felony in nature. One thing that determines whether it's a misdemeanor, is the offender's speed when trying to elude law enforcement. Their driving behaviors can lead to a felony if they exceed certain post and speed limits," Blackfoot Police Department Captain Wes Wheatley said.

A lot of police chases tend to happen in the warmer months. Now that we are in April, Captain Wheatley said six chases have already happened this year.

Law enforcement has a variety of tools to try and end those chases sooner. Those tools are spike strips, pit maneuvers, and the help of other law enforcement agencies.

"Ultimately, all those interventions are to stop the vehicle from being mobile and those also pose their own risks. Because, standing in front of a car, fleeing from other law enforcement agencies to deploy spike strips does pose other risks. But at least it's isolated to law enforcement and not the general public. And same with the pit maneuver as well," Captain Wheatley said.

Sometimes police may not have a chance to use those tools. Sometimes they may need to call off the chase. Captain Wheatley shares what goes into the decision to stop a pursuit.

"Some of the things that just in nature we evaluate in real-time and it's continual is things such as traffic, vehicle speeds, roadway conditions, the time the vehicle pursuit occurs, and then the availability of other intervention techniques such as spike strips, other law enforcement agencies and pit maneuver and things such as that," Captain Wheatley said.

While chases can be stopped, the police still get their guy.

"If we can identify the driver, the offender during the pursuit, even if they if the pursuit terminated later on if there's enough probable cause gained, they can file charges for whatever crimes. On top of alluding that they were contacted for that day," Captain Wheatley said.

Captain Wheatley said if a cop is trying to pull us over, but we don't feel safe to pull over, there are three things we should do.

  1. Turn on your hazards. This will allow the officer to know you have acknowledged their presence and will pull over as soon as you can.
  2. Follow all traffic laws. This will include the posted speed limit, lane changes, and the other rules of the roads.
  3. Call the nearest Dispatch Center.

"Most communication centers in this area would be able to promptly tell you if that was a legitimate officer or not because they would be in communication with that officer via radio," Captain Wheatley said.

Article Topic Follows: Idaho

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Braydon Wilson

Braydon is a reporter for Local News 8.


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