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Cincinnati Police Department analysis: 40% of vehicle pursuits in 2021 violated department policy

Violations include driving too fast
A Cincinnati police officer pursues a suspect's vehicle Aug. 7, 2020 across the Roebling Bridge into Covington. The suspect crashed killing a married couple and seriously injuring two others.
Posted at 9:00 PM, Mar 21, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-21 21:00:21-04

CINCINNATI — A Cincinnati Police Department analysis found that 40% of the department's vehicle pursuits in 2021 violated department policy.

The I-Team received the CPD memo discussing the analysis March 18 in response to a public records request.

CPD updated its vehicle pursuit policy in February, restricting vehicle pursuits to violent felony suspects fleeing police.

The department's officers participated in 127 vehicle pursuits in 2021, according to the Jan. 18 memo written by a CPD Sergeant. Officers violated department policy in 50 of those incidents.

The CPD analysis included reviews of police reports and video documenting vehicle pursuits.

"I think that the agency is about as thorough as you could ask, maybe in some cases, a little bit too much so," FOP President Sgt. Dan Hils said.

According to the CPD analysis, police supervisors found the following violations of the pursuit policy:

  • Driving more than 20 miles an hour above the speed limit
  • Not activating a siren when initiating a pursuit
  • Failing to activate body-worn cameras during the pursuit
  • Driving the wrong way on a one-way street
  • Not coming to a complete stop at stop signs

The I-Team's review of more than 50 local police pursuit policies found Cincinnati has one of the most restrictive policies in our metro area.

Unlike Cincinnati, most of those police pursuit policies allow officers to drive at much higher speeds and only require officers to slow down and make sure there's no oncoming traffic as they approach red lights and stop signs, not the complete stops required by CPD.

Hils and several other local police chiefs told the I-Team pursuit policies shouldn't be overloaded with hard and fast rules.

"I think to be able to stay completely clear through a policy so tight is difficult," Hils said.

CPD's new vehicle pursuit policy — first reported by the I-Team weeks ago — has received national attention.

During a news conference last week, interim police chief Teresa Theetge said the department made the policy more restrictive based partly on input from residents in the community.

"Cincinnati is going to be innovative," Theetge said. "We are going to take the necessary steps to mitigate the risk revolving around vehicle pursuits."