RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — We’ve all seen the results of high speed police chases — some end more peacefully than others.
In order to reduce the potential damage of pursuits on the road, the North Carolina Highway Patrol is taking steps to change its policies on how to handle these situations.
Troopers are now restricted from pursuing a vehicle in a chase and using the PIT maneuver if the car is traveling over 55 mph. The PIT Maneuver is when a trooper uses the force of their car to stop a vehicle.
Master Trooper Chris Knox says the changes are for the safety of the officers and drivers.
“I think when you are put in these high stress scenarios, it needs to be black and white. I think this policy has done that. It shows them what should take place,” said Knox.
Troopers will be allowed to pursue cars at will if they believe the driver has committed a felony.
Knox says supervisors will now have a greater role in making high speed chase decisions.
Not everyone agrees with the policy change.
Retired trooper Cary Rogers spoke out against the change on Facebook.
“It angers me to know that only the good and decent people will be the ones to pull over, comply and receive a citation while Joe Thug will simply speed up and get away with his drugs because he knows the Highway Patrol cant chase him,” Rogers said.
Criticism of the policies led the North Carolina Troopers Association to send a post to their own Facebook page threatening to remove disparaging comments against the new Highway Patrol Colonel, Glenn McNeil.
“They are worried. I mean, they want to make sure the integrity of the process the necessity to get violators is still there — and it is,” said Knox.
Highway Patrol couldn’t provide us with any statistics that influenced this change. However, according to the website 24-7 Wall Street, North Carolina ranks 10th in the nation in pursuit related deaths, with 240 casualties between 1996 and 2015.