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Local and State Police Have a Set of Guidelines When It Comes to Chases

LUDLOW, Mass. (WGGB) — How do police know when to take part in a pursuit?  And what is the difference between how state and local police carry them out?

We talked with both the Ludlow Police Department and State Police about their procedures.

Ludlow Police Sgt. Louis Tulik has been involved in high speed chases and says there are a lot of factors that an officer has to consider before they even start chasing someone.

“The underlying offense is extremely important. If it’s someone with a suspended license, am I gonna put the public at risk to stop that person? If you know who the person is, that’s another thing.  If you don’t know who that person is and they just committed a serious assault on someone, that’s different. The offense kind of dictates what you do and how far you take that,” explains Tulik.

In fact, State Police follow a similar procedure.

Their policy on vehicle pursuits has no speed limits set because they say every situation is different.  Troopers have to make the decision based on if the case will pose a danger to the public.

Ludlow Police Chief James McGowan says that chases here in Ludlow are few and far between and might get called off, but still, those calls need to be responded to.

“For every one high speed pursuit, I probably get 200 to 250 alarm calls that officers have to respond to.  So if you’re assigned to respond to a house alarm or business alarm, you’re relegated by departmental policy that you can’t go any faster on a rural road than 50 mph.”

As an alternative to pursuit there are other deterrents to stop/slow suspects.

Like using stinger spikes which deflate tires and a handheld device that does the same.

State Police prohibit pursuit with motorcycles unless the suspect poses an imminent threat of death to police or to others.


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