Recent incidents raise questions about foot pursuits

July 26, 2019

In 2014, the Bonneville County Sheriff’s Office chased a man fleeing a traffic stop in a high-speed chase through the heart of Idaho Falls. Justin Crosby, then 23, had a warrant for failure to appear in court.

When Crosby saw deputies approaching him, he fled in a stolen vehicle on East 17th Street with law enforcement in pursuit.

Both the sheriff’s office and Idaho Falls Police Department determined the officers should not have chased Crosby, however, due to the risk posed to the public.

“The risk to the public, the fact that we were close to the lunch hour, the heavy traffic, the fact that (the pursuit) went into the downtown area; those issues could have been avoided if (the deputy) terminated the pursuit early,” Sheriff’s Office Capt. Samuel Hulse said in a report following an investigation of the chase.

Law enforcement officers are required to consider the safety of the public, themselves and the suspect during vehicle pursuits. When it comes to foot pursuits, however, officers often chase fleeing suspects without back-up.

Studies of recent policy changes at police departments that have changed foot pursuit policies to encourage officers to wait for backup before engaging in a foot chase show that doing so reduces the likelihood of injuries to both law enforcement and the suspects.

Read the full article by Johnathan Hogan of Post Register