LMPD Chief Steve Conrad releases new policy limiting chases to violent crimes


by WHAS11


Posted on November 28, 2012 at 7:34 PM

Updated Thursday, Nov 29 at 9:35 AM

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) -- Big changes for Louisville Metro Police when it comes to how officers pursue suspects.

Chief Steve Conrad released a new policy limiting chases to only violent crimes.

He says he made the call after looking at information from the past five years.

"I was surprised to find that we had been involved in 283 pursuits. One hundred and forty-two of these, just a little over 50 percent, resulted in collisions. Unfortunately in these collisions, seven people were killed, 76 were injured including some of our officers. In my opinion, that is just too high of a price to pay,” Chief Steve Conrad said.

31-year-old Stephanie Melson was killed in October on her way back to work when she got caught in a chase. Police were chasing Joseph Johnson after he allegedly fled a drug investigation, ran a stop sign at 39th and Kentucky and then crashed into Melson’s car.

“That’s not something that you should have been chasing somebody for, especially if he didn't just murder somebody or kidnap somebody,” said Kerry King, Melson’s boyfriend.

Police said the policy change is not a result of Melson’s death, but instead came from reviewing the data.
Conrad says he's not asking officers to ignore crime. He says when they are confronted with situations involving criminal behavior, he wants them to use their available resources, tactics and communications in order to limit the opportunities for suspects to flee.

Under the new policy a violent felony would, for example, include 1st degree rape, murder, robbery, kidnapping or arson.