HUNTINGTON - Dangerous police pursuits have states looking into creating government standards for pursuit procedures.
In April, a police chase that stretched from Milton to Dunbar left several people injured. The pursuit was initiated on Alex Nathaniel Foster, 25, after state parole officers sent out an alert for his whereabouts to dispatchers. He was spotted by Milton police and fled, being chased by officers from several agencies into two counties.
According to MPD, the suspect hit several cars, injuring several people, before he was apprehended while attempting to hijack a vehicle from an elderly driver in Dunbar.
Foster was charged with fleeing with reckless indifference and two counts of child neglect creating risk of serious injury or death in relation to the pursuit, and was additionally charged with grand larceny and had a capias.
Chases like this one are what prompted several states to look into adopting a statewide standard to protect the general public in police chases, so every police department has a consistent procedure.
Locally, Huntington Police Department's pursuit policy is a lengthy, pages-long explanation of how to handle a pursuit situation, according to Huntington Police Chief Hank Dial.
Dial said supervisors actively monitor each pursuit and decide on a case-by-case basis whether or not to continue, factoring in things including the seriousness of the crime committed by the individual being pursued, how populated the area is where the chase is occurring, the speed of the chase and road conditions. All supervisors have the authority to end a pursuit.
"We do constant risk assessment on the pursuit to determine if it's a justified or good decision to continue the pursuit or end it," Dial said.
In Ohio, Gov. Mike DeWine has asked the state's Collaborative Community-Police Advisory Board to develop minimum standards for law enforcement agencies to create a consistent approach to pursuits to help prevent people getting seriously injured or killed when a driver flees from police, the Associated Press reported.
The Department of Public Safety says at least 545 departments employing more than 28,000 officers have either met the existing standards or are working to meet them.
Connecticut officials announced in May they are also considering a statewide standard restricting car chases.
No such statewide policy has been adopted or proposed in West Virginia.
Follow reporter Megan Osborne on Twitter and Facebook @megosborneHD.