The California Highway Patrol is reviewing its policy on high speed pursuits in urban areas after two fatal police chases in downtown San Jose over the summer.
City officials hope the revisions being considered by the CHP commissioner are closer to the policy governing San Jose police officers. City police only engage in a high speed pursuit if they are chasing a violent offender.
“We probably need a policy that protects residents from split second decisions that may ultimately prove to be wrong,” said City Councilman Sam Liccardo.
KCBS Matt Bigler Reporting:
On Sept. 16, two people in a Ford Explorer were killed in a crash as that vehicle sped away from CHP officers trying to pull it over for a missing license plate.
In July, a car fleeing from CHP officers ran a red light at San Fernando and Tenth streets slammed into a Mitsubishi, killing a teenage passenger inside the other vehicle.
The suspect vehicle had made an illegal turn off Interstate 280. The Honda Civic nearly tore the Mitsubishi in half.
Liccardo noted that conditions on city streets are very different than those of an interstate where it’s rare that there would be any pedestrians.
“I think there’s a different set of risks that are posed and I want to see a policy that reflects that,” he said.
The CHP did not respond to KCBS’ request for an interview by deadline, although Commissioner Joe Farrow told the Mercury News he has already decided to clarify some ambiguous language in the pursuit policy.
Results of the statewide review ordered by the Commissioner Farrow are expected in October.
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