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The staff of the Tampa Bay Times

The politics of police chases



PoliceLights2 St. Petersburg's mayoral race may determine whether city streets see more high-speed police chases.

If Bill Foster or Scott Wagman winds up in the mayor's seat, look for the city to loosen its chase policy so police cruisers can pursue suspects in nonviolent crimes, such as car thefts and drug sales. Under the city's long-standing policy supported by outgoing Mayor Rick Baker and four of the six major mayoral candidates, police can pursue a vehicle only if the driver is suspected of committing a violent crime or would endanger the public if allowed to escape.

"That policy needs to be changed," said former City Council member Foster, who is endorsed by the Police Benevolent Association, which is pushing for more liberal chase rules in St. Petersburg. "St. Petersburg has a reputation for being a magnet for auto theft and other things because of the no-pursuit policy."



[Last modified: Wednesday, May 26, 2010 11:59am]


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