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Mich. State Police changes pursuit policy, only allowing chases of violent felony suspects with probable cause

Mich State Police officials cited updated technology that will allow officers to make an arrest without pursuing the suspect as a reason for the change

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Michigan State Police

By Joanna Putman

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — The Michigan State Police has updated its pursuit policy, requiring probable cause that a driver of a fleeing vehicle has committed a violent felony before officers can engage in a pursuit, CBS Detroit reported.

“The reason for that is we can count on the troopers and their driving ability and how they pursue people and all the training that they get, but we can’t count on the suspects…and usually what happens if you get into some of these low-level crimes, the suspect will end up hitting an innocent bystander or a trooper will end up getting injured in that pursuit,” MSP 1st Lt. Mike Shaw said.

Kidnappings, murders and home invasions are included in the list of violent felonies, according to the report. Shaw cited advances in technology that will allow officers to make an arrest without pursuing the suspect.

“All of our patrol cars have cameras, we have body cameras now, license plate readers, different tools that we can use to still make that arrest,” Shaw said.

The policy went into effect on March 14, according to the report. There were 236 Michigan State Police pursuits in 2023, and 33 so far in 2024.