ST. ANN (KMOV) - it's a scene that's becoming all too frequent in January, police chases ending with crashes.
It's not only a danger to officers but also innocent drivers and pedestrians. According to Missouri state law, there are guidelines surrounding police pursuits but the policies are left up to the individual police departments.
In St. Ann, Chief Aaron Jimenez is unapologetic when it comes to tactics used by his department to catch criminals on his streets.
“Now most suspects will not come down 70 eastbound because they know St. Ann Police Department is going to pursue them,” said Jimenez.
St. Ann officers recently pursued a stolen car that was speeding over 100 miles per hour. The chase ended with a serious crash, sending an innocent driver to the hospital.
“We understand were putting other people’s lives in jeopardy but at the time same time were sworn to catch these people,” he explained.
Chief Jimenez says its department policy to take the crime into consideration but there's no hard and fast rule. Department policy states:
“The seriousness of the original offense that led to the pursuit. Infractions, misdemeanors and property crimes do not warrant the same level of risk as might be taken to apprehend violent felons.”
“This whole thing comes down to an accountability factor where all of these criminals know right now if you’re in north county, you’re anywhere in St. Louis County, especially in the city of St. Louis, go ahead and flee because nobody’s going to chase you, that’s usually the word on the street,” Jimenez said.
Both St .Louis County and St. Louis City police provided News 4 with their policies.
According to SLMPD policy, “vehicle pursuits may be initiated when an officer has reasons to believe that the suspect has committed a felony involving the use or threatened use of deadly force.”
In St. Louis County, the policy is similar. It allows officers to pursue a suspect who has committed or attempted to commit a dangerous felony, or if there is substantial risk that the fleeing violator will cause death or serious injury if apprehension is delayed.
All the policies require supervisory control throughout the pursuit. In the end, Jimenez, comes down to officer discretion.
“Being professional and using good judgment,” he explained. “We’ve been in many pursuits but we’ve also called off many pursuits.