Milwaukee Police launching new initiative to hold fleeing drivers accountable

NOW: Milwaukee Police launching new initiative to hold fleeing drivers accountable

MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- Milwaukee Police launched a new campaign Monday to shine the spotlight on the root problem behind chases and crashes. 

In a news conference Monday morning, Chief Morales said the police pursuit policy is not going away and he wants more attention on people fleeing police instead of police chasing. 

“Starting today, every week for the next two months, the Milwaukee Police Department will feature a driver who has been arrested, charged, convicted and sentenced for felony reckless driving and/or fleeing. I want the public to see the faces of the people who are putting our neighborhoods in danger. I want accountability from the offenders,” said Chief Alfonso Morales. 

Police will feature those convicted of fleeing police on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram as part of their new Keep MKE's Streets Safe initiative.   

Morales says a chase earlier in the morning was to track down two people involved in two different robberies. MPD says the city does have a reckless driving problem but it also has a separate problem with people fleeing police, which is a felony crime. 

Morales says getting rid of the pursuit policy isn't an option. 

"It's always sad when the innocent people get caught up in this. Whether we chase or don't chase. You have to understand that this problem is going to continue with these offenders. The purpose of today is holding them accountable. Often times its why are police doing it. We don't want to chase, but we have to to keep the city safe," Chief Morales said. 

MPD says those fleeing from police are often repeat offenders. Thirty-two people arrested in 2019 have been arrested at least twice for fleeing police.

The owner of Staple Bros Pro Hardware spent Monday cleaning up shop, after a police car chase lead to his window getting busted, and a small fire in the building.

Lester Staples says, to him, there is little difference between reckless driving and fleeing police.

“It’s all the same thing,” Staples said. “Reckless driving causes more accidents than the fleeing people.”

Milwaukee Police Chief Alfonso Morales held a press conference Monday, to say the two are different.

“Reckless driving is speeding, cutting people off.” Morales said. “Fleeing is a criminal act. It is a felony and separate.”

MPD started a campaign where they will call out people convicted of fleeing police, by posting their picture, booking information and sentence online.

“I want the public to see the faces of the people who are putting our community in danger. And I want accountability on the offenders.”

Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm said his office increases charges for those who choose to evade police, and he said most of them are repeat offenders.

“People that we are focused on here are engaging in premeditated behavior. In other words, they have made decisions, demonstrated again and again that they are not going to comply.”

The new police policy will post those convicted of fleeing once a week for the next two months.

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