Bicyclists request for changes in KCMO police pursuit policies pays off

A group of Kansas City bicyclists, galvanized by the death of fellow cyclist Toni Sena during a police chase, worked with the Kansas City, Missouri, police to craft a new, much more restrictive pursuit policy [PDF] that has become a model policy.

The new policy has now been in place since March, 2004.

The recent injury of a teenager by a Grandview police car in hot pursuit, has led the Kansas City Star to call for all police departments in the Kansas City area to adopt similar pursuit policies:
High-speed chases often involve judgment calls by police officers operating with incomplete information.

Pursuit is sometimes necessary, and a suspected abduction is one of those cases.

But police agencies could reduce their numbers of chases by taking a lead from Kansas City, which conducted an extensive review of high-speed pursuit procedures after [the driver of a vehicle being pursued by Kansas City, MO, police] struck and killed a bicyclist in 2003.

Five citizens helped revise the guidelines.

Kansas City officers now must take annual training for driving at high speeds. The circumstances justifying pursuit have been narrowed. Supervisors must approve and monitor chases, and write a review of them once they're completed.

Police Chief Jim Corwin said he shared the policy with other police chiefs and “encouraged them to use it as somewhat of a boiler plate.”
Congratulations to the Kansas City bicyclists whose advocacy has made a real difference.

We call on all other cities in the metropolitan area to adopt similar pursuit policies.

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