by Jon Farris, Chief Advocate, Pursuit For Change
BAD OUTCOMES: Monona’s Poor Decision to Weaken Police Pursuit Policy in 2022 Results in Unnecessary Deaths
During the past several weeks, police chases in Monona have taken an even more horrible and deadly turn. READ MORE HERE
But this should not be unexpected.
“In November 2022, the Monona City Council approved a change to the policy governing when police can engage in vehicle pursuits, removing the requirement that the people being pursued must be suspected of having committed a violent felony or that they were about to commit one.” The new policy included a dozen factors for officers to consider when deciding whether to pursue a fleeing vehicle, including “whether the suspect represents a serious threat to public safety,” “the safety of the public in the area of the pursuit” and whether the person fleeing has been identified and could be safely arrested later. That expanded a previous policy, adopted in 2020, in which the City Council changed the requirement that police have “reasonable suspicion” that a violent felony had been committed to instead permit pursuits if police had “probable cause” that such a crime had occurred.” READ MORE HERE
This decision, as anyone with even an ounce of common sense would know, has resulted in more pursuits, crashes, injuries and deaths. READ MORE HERE
And let’s talk very briefly about leadership. Brian Chaney has been Monona’s police chief for only a short while, and he came from the Madison PD, which maintains a safe pursuit policy. However Chief Chaney’s recent comment mimics the bluster made by Milwaukee’s Chief in 2018, after they opened up virtually unlimited pursuits.
‘We don’t play,’ Monona police chief warns criminals after two chases.
This is not what leadership is about. What message does this send to his officers? And it definitely provides NO VALUE in reducing crime. Criminals do not open the newspaper to see what the Chief is saying, nor do they care even if they do hear it or read it online. Get real folks.
However, off the cuff comments like this can embolden Monona police officers to make poor decisions, likely not made under prior leadership or when following stricter engagement and pursuit policies.
If all of this seems like déjà vu, it should, because Monona is heading in the same direction as the Milwaukee Police Department.
BAD DECISIONS. BAD OUTCOMES. PEOPLE DYING.
In 2017, the Milwaukee Fire and Police Commission FORCED the Chief to loosen what was one of the better police pursuit policies in the United States. And every moment since then has resulted in horrible outcomes, including deaths of innocent citizens and police officers.
THIS IS WHERE MONONA IS HEADING. MOPD AND THE MONONA CITY COUNCIL NEED TO TAKE A DEEP BREATH AND REASSESS THEIR CURRENT, WEAK PURSUIT POLICY THAT EXPOSES CITIZENS AND OFFICERS TO UNNECESSARY INJURIES AND DEATH.
Milwaukee Police chases have skyrocketed in the last five years. READ STORY HERE
Here’s an article we wrote, showing results from Milwaukee’s pursuit police change. And as in virtually every city, when policies are weakened, more citizens die…
So what do truly experienced and more rational law enforcement professionals have to say about police chases? NHTSA and the Department of Justice’s COPS Office asked the Police Executives Research Forum (PERF) to develop vehicular pursuit guidelines for police departments and sheriffs’ offices. They will tell you that Monona is doing it wrong…
PERF REPORT SUMMARY:
The report contains 65 recommendations across six topics:
– agency philosophy and policy standards;
– the role of a supervisor;
– pursuit interventions, pursuit alternatives, and technology for managing risks;
– post-pursuit reporting;
– training; and
– community engagement.
They recommend that agencies only pursue suspects when two conditions are met: (1) a violent crime has been committed and (2) the suspect poses an imminent threat to commit another violent crime. Links to everything about the PERF Report is in an earlier published article HERE.
Chief Chaney and the Monona City Council need to strongly reassess the current pursuit policy. If they continue with no changes, Monona residents can expect to see MORE DEATHS, MORE INJURIES, LAWSUITS WITH MILLION-DOLLAR JUDGEMENTS AGAINST THE CITY, MORE EXPENSIVE INSURANCE PREMIUMS FOR THE CITY and more…
I told the Milwaukee Fire and Police Commission this exact same message in 2017, but they didn’t listen. And in 2018 a police officer was killed, several innocent citizens were killed, and the lawsuits commenced. All of these outcomes and problems continue unabated in 2024.