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Michigan State Police change policy on vehicle chases

Steve Carmody
Michigan Public

Michigan State Police troopers have new rules for when to pursue a fleeing driver.

 In 2022 and 2023, Michigan State Police troopers were involved in more than 230 pursuits. So far this year, troopers have been involved in 33.

Under the new policy, troopers will only be authorized to initiate or engage in a vehicle pursuit if there is probable cause to believe someone in the fleeing car has committed a life-threatening felony. The list of felonies includes crimes like murder, armed robbery, arson and criminal sexual conduct involving a weapon.

The pursuit policy change is intended reduce the risks involved with police pursuits to innocent bystanders and state troopers.

“High-speed pursuits are one of the most dangerous circumstances police officers face,” said Col. James F. Grady II, director of the Michigan State Police, in a written statement.

Crashes occur in at least 30% of police pursuits nationally, according to the U.S. Justice Department. An MSP spokeswoman could not provide data on crashes related to police pursuits in Michigan.

Steve Carmody has been a reporter for Michigan Public since 2005. Steve previously worked at public radio and television stations in Florida, Oklahoma and Kentucky, and also has extensive experience in commercial broadcasting.