Central Virginia sees four police chases in a week; What are the guidelines for troopers in a chase?

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RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) – In the last week, there have been several chases involving Virginia State Police troopers.

The most recent was on Interstate 95, resulting in the injury of a motorcyclist who ran off the road after making contact with a patrol car.

According to the department’s guidelines, Virginia State Police troopers can start chasing a driver on the road if that driver doesn’t stop when they see blue lights or hear the siren.

“There’s a big issue in policing these days as to whether or not the police should engage in a pursuit or not,” Rockecharlie Stone, PLLC attorney Russ Stone told 8News Tuesday.

Whether or not police should engage in a pursuit is a topic that has recently caused debate.

“Some people think that they actually should not, and then there are the other side who say, well, if you stop pursuing people, people are just going to run, that’s going to encourage people to run,” Stone said.

In recent days, there have been multiple police chases across Central Virginia.

One in Henrico on Sunday, one in Dinwiddie on the same day where Virginia State Police is still looking for the driver and on Monday, a chase involving Chesterfield Police ensued after someone stole a car from a Chesterfield Wawa while a child was in the backseat.

A fourth chase happened along I-95 Monday as well, leaving a motorcyclist seriously injured. The chase is under investigation now after the VSP trooper made contact with the motorcyclist.

Stone said he’s never seen an officer charged in a chase, but it could happen depending on the circumstances.

“If you chase somebody inappropriately and that results in some injury to someone, there definitely could be civil liability for the department,” he said.

In any chase, the person being pursued could face charges ranging from a misdemeanor to a felony.

Stone said each Virginia law enforcement agency has their own policy for police pursuits.

“The reason police departments have policies for that sort of thing is largely to protect them from liability issues,” he said.

Although Stone says he couldn’t imagine criminal penalties against a trooper in a police chase, if the driver was injured in the chase, it could result in a court case to see whether the trooper’s actions were reasonable.

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