‘It poses a public danger’: Milwaukee Police chases highest they’ve been in 16 years

NOW: ‘It poses a public danger’: Milwaukee Police chases highest they’ve been in 16 years

MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- Following a change in policy months ago, Milwaukee police are chasing more vehicles on the streets. Now, the city is looking at how change is impacting residents in the city. 

Residents say they're sick of seeing high-speed chases near their homes. 

"We heard a really big boom outside our house."

The 'boom' was a car crashing into another car. Tammy Stingl says Milwaukee Police chased a 21-year-old driving a stolen car when the driver hit her boyfriend's car parked on the street near 54th and Silver Spring back in January. 

Stingl is still frustrated that Milwaukee Police pursued a high-speed chase in a residential area. 

"We were sitting on the couch in the living room which is right in front of a window. He literally could have drove up into our house and injured us," said Stingl. 

In March 2010, Milwaukee Police could only pursue drivers with violent felonies. In September 2017, that policy was changed to allow police to chase reckless drivers and drug dealers. 

In 2017, there were about 370 police vehicle pursuits, up 20% from 2016. The numbers get even higher this year. So far in 2018, there have been more than 250 vehicle pursuits. During the same time in 2017, there were only 51.

The Milwaukee Police Department sees it as progress. 

"Being able to pursue those individuals helps us to decrease those types of activities which is a scourge on our community," said Milwaukee Assistant Police Chief Michael Brunson. 

Since the change in policy, vehicles fleeing officers has gone down. 

"We are going to send that message that it's very dangerous to flee and you will be held accountable," said Milwaukee Police Chief Alfonso Morales. 

Milwaukee Police say they cancel pursuits when it's unsafe for the public, but Stingl believes in her case, it put the entire community in danger. 

"When the speed limit is 20-30 mph, is it worth it chasing someone who is going 90? I don't think it really is because it poses the public danger. And someone could have gotten really, really hurt," said Stingl.

For the full report of 2017 vehicle pursuits, please click here. 

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