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3 police chases in 3 days: IMPD says reviews of pursuits are key to ensuring community safety

Two of the pursuits ended in a suspect's arrest and another with the driver dying after crashing their car into a pole.

INDIANAPOLIS — In the past three days, there have been three police pursuits around Indianapolis. Two ended in a suspect's arrest and another with the driver dying after crashing their car into a pole.

It marks an unusually busy streak of pursuits for IMPD. 

Sgt. Genae Cook with IMPD said if officers are trying to stop you over for something, pull over. And, she said, don't run from police. 

"It is critical," Cook said. "One, it's a crime. It's against the law to flee from police. Second of all, it's a danger. It presents a danger not just to the community but to themselves."

Running from police or starting a chase can put the community's safety in jeopardy," Cook said, often ending in legal consequences far beyond what police were initially stopping you for.

“Whether it’s a traffic ticket or something more, just face those consequences. That ticket might not be anywhere near the results of what happens if you get in a pursuit,” she said. 

All officers have general orders on when they can or can't chase a suspect, but Cook said whether or not they do pursue depends in large part on what's happening around them.

"There are so many rules we have to follow but they're also gray to the fact that, we need to monitor the weather conditions, road conditions, where we're at, passing a school zone at 3 in the morning is nowhere like passing a school zone at 3 in the afternoon, and we take all of those factors into consideration," Cook said. 

Any time officers begin a pursuit, Cook said a sergeant on shift will immediately begin monitoring that pursuit, advising officers and giving updates. At any point, both the officers and the sergeant can terminate that pursuit.

Engaging in a pursuit is not a decision officers take lightly, but Cook said sometimes, it's necessary.

"Sometimes pursuits just have to happen," Cook said. "There are people out there that are just bad people and we don't want them on the street. Now, we do everything we can to prevent any type of situation where it can endanger others but, unfortunately, sometimes crashes occur and we're there. But we try and alleviate that as much as possible."

And once it's over, Cook said a supervisor will immediately review that pursuit again. 

“We analyze each one, we assess them, we determine whether or not there’s policy that may need to change. These are things that come with everything we do and we continually assess not just pursuits but every piece of use of force, every general order that we have. It's constantly evolving," Cook said. 

But often, it doesn't need to come to that, so long as people don't start the chase in the first place. 

"We understand that some people get scared. We understand that happens," Cook said. "All you have to do is pull over."

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