Sacramento police department has instituted a new foot pursuit policy. It follows the fatal police shooting of Stephon Clark last March.
Police received a call of a man matching Clark’s description breaking into parked cars. An airborne officer later reported the suspect attempting to break into a home’s sliding glass door. Officers pursued Clark on foot until confronting him in his grandparent’s backyard. He was holding a cellphone, but no weapon. Clark was shot and killed.
The new foot pursuit policy asks officers to consider their surroundings and the availability of backup. If pursuing they must tell their supervisor why they’re giving chase, give a description of the suspect, and activate their body cameras.
But with officers asked to do all that within seconds, is it likely officers will just let suspects run?
Norm Stamper, former chief of police at the Seattle Police Department whose career as a police officer spans 34 years; his latest book is “To Protect and Serve: How to Fix America’s Police” (Nation Books, 2016)
Joseph Giacalone, retired sergeant who spent 20 years with the New York City Police Department and teaches police studies at John Jay College of Criminal Justice at the City University of New York
Andrew J. Scott, former police chief of Boca Raton, Florida; president of AJS Consulting, an expert witness consulting on police practices and procedures; he has worked in law enforcement for more than 30 years