The Atlanta Police Department has announced that effective January 3, a zero-chase policy will be in effect. The announcement by police chief Erika Shields came after a number of high-speed chases ended with death or injuries.
In December, a traffic stop morphed into a high-speed pursuit that ended in a multi-car smash-up near the junction of Lee Street and Campbellton Road. The officers were trying to stop a vehicle that had been involved in an armed carjacking and robbery. The two suspects were apprehended at the scene and taken to hospital but two other people died.
Meanwhile, back in September, a pedestrian was pinned to the wall of a restaurant after a suspect’s car crashed into a parked car and the second vehicle hit the pedestrian. This accident occurred off Donald Lee Hollowell Parkway and the pedestrian received critical injuries.
Chief Shields said the policy would remain in place until additional policy decisions are made. She said she had to weigh the success of the department’s chases with the level of training officers receive, the rate of injury or death, and the likelihood that the judicial system would hold suspects accountable.
In an email to staff, Chief Shields said the department was taking on a lot of risk to the safety of officers and the public when the judicial system was “largely unresponsive”.
It is expected that the Executive Command Staff will identify specific personnel and provide them with specialized pursuit training. This will allow the department to conduct limited pursuits.
Until this happens, there will be no police chases. The chief said she knew the decision would not be popular and it could drive up the crime rate.
Meanwhile, if you get injured in any type of car accident in Atlanta, reach out to a Georgia auto accident lawyer for legal advice.