NYPD executives last week warned police to think twice about high-speed pursuits following recent incidents that left civilians injured, The Post has learned.
Department Chief Jeffrey Maddrey last week reminded officers to refresh existing car chase policies, citing “the recent increase in quality of life complaints related to stolen vehicles and the reckless and illegal operation of ATVs and dirt bikes.” on the streets of the city.”
“A vehicle pursuit must be halted whenever the risk to service members and the public outweighs the risk to the community if the suspect is not caught promptly,” he noted in the Aug. 10 memo.
The memo comes at a time when NYPD officials have publicly defended the citywide increase in car chases as a crucial crime-fighting tool.
“We’re pretty good at it and will continue to stop cars and bikes that are breaking the law in New York City,” Patrol Chief John Chell said said WNBC-TV News in a report this week.
But some recent police chases through the city streets have ended in serious accidents — including on August 1, when a stolen car while fleeing Manhattan police officers struck three vehicles and several pedestrians, killing ten people, including two children. injured.
In June, four police officers were injured when a chase through Canarsie ended with two squad cars ramming into the speeding vehicle they were chasing.
A month earlier, drivers in Queens dialed 311 while filming video of an NYPD SUV swerving wildly in traffic on the Van Wyck Expressway, trying to arrest a suspect on a speeding moped.
In the memo, Maddrey reminded police that “the decision to pursue a vehicle must be reasonable in the circumstances,” citing the existing department policy on car chases.
“In assessing the need to initiate and continue a vehicle pursuit, service members must consider the type of offense, time of day, weather conditions, location and population density, service vehicle capability, and their familiarity with the area.” ‘ the boss wrote.
“The primary duty of service members is to protect human life, including the lives of other service members, innocent bystanders and the lives of those in police custody,” he added.
When asked last month about a report by THE CITY, which found that the number of car chases had increased by almost 600% this year compared to last year, Chell attributed the increase in police chases to a crackdown on so-called ghost cars during the period year 2022.
“Every morning I wake up with something that involves one of these illegal bikes or cars and paper plates,” he said on NY1.
Chell also defended some of the chases last month, saying dangerous suspects were caught in successful chases – including a man who assaulted an 87-year-old motorist in late June and an incident on July 5 that involved two gunmen in a fleeing car Car shot a teenager in the Bronx.
“Yes, we’re going to chase this car, and we have,” Chell said at a July 6 news conference. “We were arrested.
“So yes. Vehicle tracking is increasing,” he said. “We’ve got better supervisor oversight. I’ll say it again: the times you’ve been driving around this city lawlessly doing what you’re supposed to do do believe are over.”