Milwaukee Police pursuits here to stay, city to launch PR campaign
Milwaukee Police announced Monday they will continue to chase reckless drivers and drug dealers.
The announcement comes after Officer Charles Irvine was killed in the line of duty earlier this month in a pursuit.
Police Chief Alfonso Morales says the city’s pursuit policy will cut down on reckless driving and crime.
“You get involved in the mobile drug market when you believe that the police are not going to pull you over," Morales said. "Well we are going to pull you over, and we are going to go after you.”
But Ladell Harrison, who Irvine died chasing, reportedly said he thought the city still used the policy of only chasing felons.
Milwaukee police union president Mike Crivello says Irvine might be alive today if Harrison knew the truth.
“I think there may have been a difference," Crivello said. "Obviously, he had made the statement that he thought we could not pursue, which maybe emboldened him to drive faster.”
The city changed their policy in September of last year to include pursuing both reckless drivers and drug dealers.
City leaders say they have a plan to get the word out to the public.
“We’re in the very early stages of developing a public information campaign, designed to get the word out across Milwaukee to all segments of the community,” Alderman Bob Donovan said.
Fleeing police is a felony, but Morales says people who cause a chase will now face recklessly endangering safety charges, which carry a harsher penalty.
“A vehicle is a four to five thousand pound bullet when you operate it that way," Morales said. "You can’t go around driving around recklessly and put other lives at risk. And those are the charges we’re going to be going after.”
MPD says they plan to start their PR campaign of the pursuit policy online and move to billboards once the funding is approved.