Norfolk chief: Restrictive pursuit policy means officers are fighting crime with ‘one hand tied behind their back’

Brett Hall, wavy.com

On Tuesday, Police Chief Larry Boone requested City Council amend the pursuit policy he referred to as “one of the most restrictive in the state,” in order to help the department combat an increase in car thefts. He said while he understands the policy was put into place in the name of police reform — following the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police — 18 months has revealed a lot.

“We as an organization, we embrace police reform,” Boone said. “But I think we might have overreached to some degree.”

Boone said currently, when officers see a stolen car, they will attempt to commence a traffic stop. But too often, the suspect vehicle will speed away as the officer approaches. Because of the policy, that often ends the encounter.

“They are playing grab-butt with our officers,” Boone told council. “That defeats their morale … [criminals] are telling folks … coming from neighboring cities … ‘Norfolk will not chase you.’ That has been the growing narrative for 18 months now.”

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