Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

SOURCE DOCUMENTS: Read the new policy

St. Petersburg police chase policy tightened by new mayor, fulfilling campaign promise

During his campaign, St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman promised to change the rules governing police pursuits. He has made good on the promise.


During his campaign, St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman promised to change the rules governing police pursuits. He has made good on the promise.

ST. PETERSBURG —- Making good on one of Mayor Rick Kriseman's campaign promises, police leaders announced Thursday that they were tightening up rules governing police pursuits.

The change essentially means the chase policy will revert back to the old one, which said officers could pursue only people suspected of violent felonies. It is effective immediately, said acting police Chief David DeKay.

"This change in the pursuit policy will still allow officers to be effective in apprehending violent fleeing felons while minimizing risk to the public," DeKay said in a statement.

The pursuit policy has always been controversial — and frequently, political.

Former Mayor Bill Foster made it a central part of his campaign for mayor in 2009. He promised to loosen the policy to allow officers to go after brazen criminals who knew that police were limited in how they could respond. Foster made good on that promise after he took office, earning the praise of police unions.

Kriseman also made it part of his campaign last year, but he promised residents to reverse Foster's directive.

"During the campaign, I made my concerns about this policy clear," Kriseman said in a statement Thursday. "Today, I am glad to stand with Chief DeKay, who is in agreement with me, as the Police Department reverts to the previous policy regarding high-speed pursuit."

Kriseman's promise — one of 25 being tracked in PolitiFact Florida's Krise-O-Meter — did not earn him any points with the police union.

The Suncoast Police Benevolent Association is against the change, said union president Mark Marland.

"This change to the pursuit policy does not come as a surprise as he spoke about it on the campaign trail," Marland said Thursday. "What is concerning and disheartening is that he is making a policy change based on the Tampa Bay Times, anti-police activist groups, and one blowhard uninformed City Council member."

Marland was referring to council member Wengay Newton, who has been a critic of the policy and said that chases are endangering residents.

There was an initial spike in the number of pursuits after the policy change in 2010. But the numbers have leveled off, according to police data.

In 2009, the year before the change, there were 20 police pursuits in the city. There were 16 in 2010; 34 in 2011; 26 in 2012 and 17 last year.

The new policy calls for an annual analysis of pursuit reports, as well as a review of the policy itself.

Kriseman vowed to change the pursuit policy numerous times on the campaign trail. We rate this Promise Kept.

Kameel Stanley can be reached at, (727) 893-8643 or @cornandpotatoes on Twitter.

St. Petersburg police chase policy tightened by new mayor, fulfilling campaign promise 01/09/14 [Last modified: Friday, January 10, 2014 12:24am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Port Tampa Bay secures $9 million grant to deepen Big Bend Channel


    Port Tampa Bay has secured a $9 million grant from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for the widening and deepening of the Big Bend Channel in southern Hillsborough County.

  2. Photos of the week: 20 great images from around the globe


    This week's collection of the most interesting photos from around the world features a silhouetted surfer in France, images of joy and grief from England, a massive landslide in California, a life rescued and a life lost at sea, an image from the final performance of "the greatest show on Earth" and, just for kicks, a …

    BIARRITZ, FRANCE - MAY 24:  Guillermo Satt of Chile in action whilst competing in the Men's Qualifying Round 2 during day five of the ISA World Surfing Games 2017 at Grande Plage  on May 24, 2017 in Biarritz, France.  (Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images)
  3. What to watch this weekend: Grateful Dead documentary, 'House of Cards' returns Tuesday


    The Grateful Dead: Long Strange Trip

    Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright in Season 5 of House of Cards on Netflix.
  4. Florida TaxWatch calls out $180 million of questionable spending in state budget


    Florida TaxWatch, a Tallahassee thinktank, has released its annual "budget turkey" list that calls on Gov. Rick Scott to veto nearly $180 million in special projects tucked into the budget, mostly in transportation.

    Kurt Wenner, Florida TaxWatch's vice president for research, presents the organization's 2017 turkey list.
  5. U.S. plans first test of ICBM intercept, with North Korea on mind


    WASHINGTON — Preparing for North Korea's growing threat, the Pentagon will try to shoot down an intercontinental-range missile for the first time in a test next week. The goal is to more closely simulate a North Korean ICBM aimed at the U.S. homeland, officials said Friday.

    n this May 21 file photo people watch a TV news program showing a file image of a missile launch conducted by North Korea, at the Seoul Railway Station in Seoul, South Korea. With North Korea's nuclear missile threat in mind, the Pentagon is planning a missile defense test next week that for the first time will target an intercontinental-range missile.