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Norfolk City Council debates whether to bring back high-speed police chases

Norfolk police union pres. estimates over 100 vacancies within department
Posted at 8:31 PM, Jul 20, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-20 20:31:30-04

NORFOLK, Va. - Norfolk City Council held a session Tuesday to discuss numerous matters, including the return of police chases for stolen vehicles.

Norfolk's current policy says chases are prohibited unless "there is an immediate need to apprehend a suspect which outweighs the inherent risk of the pursuit." Council members brought up a resolution about an expansion of allowed police pursuits.

According to council members, Norfolk Police Chief Larry Boone has brought up the return for some high-speed chases after a recent uptick in vehicle thefts. Mayor Kenny Alexander says Chief Boone's logic is that these stolen cars tend to have stolen guns in them and says recovering them will help keep the public safe.

Councilman Paul Riddick disagreed with Boone's approach during the city council meeting. He says police chases are an unsafe way to get rid of guns. Instead, he says the city needs to "put more money into recreatio, into libraries, into our youngsters."

"It would be awful for [the council] to vote to approve this and then in the next one or two days, we kill somebody," he stated.

In the past week, three innocent drivers have been killed during police chases in Hampton Roads. Two of the recent incidents involved Chesapeake Police.

During the meeting, Riddick mentioned the recent Chesapeake deaths to back his claim.

"A $30 million suit will change the attitudes, and that's what's going to happen [if we do this in Norfolk]," Riddick said.

The council voted Tuesday to continue the motion in order to hear from the chief and have him show data about correlation between stolen cars and stolen guns.