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Milwaukee Police Association backs police pursuit policy

NOW: Milwaukee Police Association backs police pursuit policy

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MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- The police pursuit policy has been a subject of debate since it was revised two years ago.

Before the changes, officers could only pursue violent felons and cars involved in violent crimes. Now officers have the authority to chase reckless drivers.

"I think it's fair to say that we are always re-evaluating that," Mayor Tom Barrett said. "The police department is always re-evaluating that policy." 

Mayor Barrett says he discussed the pursuit policy with Police Chief Alfonso Morales as recently as Thursday morning. The Milwaukee Police Association is backing the policy. 

They say high-speed chases not only risk the safety of the community, they also risk the lives of police officers -- but it's a job that has to be done.

"When you don't chase criminals, they simply get emboldened, and it results in an uptick in more crime," said Shawn Lauda, President of the Milwaukee Police Association.

Police say crime has dropped because officers can chase more. A recent report shows a 20-percent decrease in serious offenses from a year ago. That includes a 15-percent drop in homicides, 12-percent drop in rape, and 33-percent drop in vehicle thefts.

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