Memphis police had no policy on foot chases before Tyre Nichols’ death

February 12 2023

NBC News recently published an article on the national trend in the absence of policy specifying how officers should handle foot chases, and neither do most American law enforcement agencies. The article discusses how that’s begun to change after a string of high-profile police killings that followed foot chases in certain cities — including Chicago; Sacramento, California; Baltimore; and Las Vegas — demonstrating an expanding effort to limit such pursuits. Footage from officers’ body cameras has given the public a firsthand look at how chases can turn deadly. Studies in different parts of the country have found that a significant proportion — ranging from 12% to 48% — of police shootings followed foot pursuits.

Former Salt Lake City Police Chief and CPE Consultant Chris Burbank provided commentary, stating: “Everyone knows this is a problem.” More than a decade ago, the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department became one of the first in the country to create a policy on foot chases after coming under heavy criticism for a high number of deadly shootings. The agency sought help from police reform experts at the Center for Policing Equity and the Justice Department’s Office of Community-Oriented Policing Services. The experts found that a disproportionate number of use-of-force incidents occurred following foot pursuits, Burbank said.

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