Pinellas Sheriff reveals new pursuit policy - WFLA News Channel 8

Pinellas Sheriff reveals new pursuit policy

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Pinellas Sheriff Bob Gualtieri announced a new, more restrictive pursuit policy for his agency on Monday. Pinellas Sheriff Bob Gualtieri announced a new, more restrictive pursuit policy for his agency on Monday.

Pinellas Sheriff Bob Gualtieri announced a new, more restrictive pursuit policy for his agency on Monday.

This is the first time the policy has undergone major revision in 10 years, said Gualtieri.

Under the new rules, a deputy can pursue only if the other driver committed a forceable felony and is in danger of harming others. The forceable felonies that apply exclude theft, burglary, arson, and unarmed aggravated battery.

Deputies may also pursue if a person is driving so recklessly that the public is at risk of great bodily harm.

"It's a much tighter policy and we're only pursuing serious criminals who pose an imminent and true danger to the public," said Gualtieri. He said pursuits are risky to deputies and the public and lesser crimes like auto theft are not worth someone's life.

The sheriff said this policy had been under review and had been already partially implemented over the last year, and did not come about because of pursuit policy changes in St. Petersburg or other municipalities. He thought it was important to outline the changes in writing in the policy.

The shift in pursuit tone began because of the increase in pursuits. After the changes, pursuits dropped from 134 in 2012 to 63 in 2013.

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