Georgia Searches for Police Chase Guidelines

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Police chiefs around Georgia say they need statewide guidelines on chasing suspects with their patrol cars, and they're turning to Valdosta police to help craft the rules.

Anytime a police officer uses his car to chase a suspect, it draws questions either from the suspect or his family, or from concerned citizens, from police officials and of course, the court system.

Brian K. Childress, Valdosta police spokesman, says, "There's been questions in the court system, about when do police chase suspects' vehicles. Should police chase, should we chase for minor traffic violations?"

VPD officers say they like having clearly defined rules on when they can pursue a suspect in their cars.

Vernotis Williams, a patrol officer, says, "That policy would not only help protect the public and the agency, but it also protects the officer because the officer will go by what's in the policy on when an officer should ensue in a traffic chase."

Officers think the public should feel more at ease if every department is going by the same "safety minded" standard when it comes to police chases.

Childress adds, "I think it sends a good message to the public, it should. That's our job, not only to enforce the laws but to police ourselves."

It could take up to six months for Valdosta police to draw up a vehicle chase policy that could be accepted statewide.

Police around Georgia want to create their own chase rules so state lawmakers don't step in and create their own policy.