New MSP safety policy means troopers will chase fewer vehicles

LANSING, Mich -- The Michigan State Police announced on Thursday night that enforcement members may only engage in a pursuit if there is probable cause to believe the driver or passenger of the vehicle has committed a life-threatening or violent felony.

"In an effort to reduce the inherent risks involved with police pursuits, Col. James F. Grady II, director of the MSP announced the MSP is aligning its pursuit policy with best practices that will protect the lives of innocent bystanders and our enforcement members," said MSP Communications Specialist Lori Dougovito.

Officials say that in 2022, MSP members engaged in 235 pursuits and that number increased by one to 236 pursuits in 2023.

“High-speed pursuits are one of the most dangerous circumstances police officers face,” stated Grady. “A key consideration in any pursuit must be the seriousness of the underlying crime and whether the risks of a pursuit outweigh the public safety benefits of immediately apprehending the suspect. In all decisions, protecting lives – that of innocent bystanders, police officers and fleeing suspects – is of paramount importance and it is for this reason we have revised our policy.”

In the 74 days so far in 2024, MSP members have been involved in 33 pursuits.

Nationally, on average, according to statistics from the U.S. Department of Justice, crashes occur in at least 30 percent of vehicle pursuits, and injuries or fatalities occur in 5-17 percent of pursuits.

Officials say MSP’s revised policy aligns with recommendations from the Police Executive Research Forum in its 2023 report, “Vehicular Pursuits: A Guide for Law Enforcement Executives on Managing the Associated Risks.”

All non-confidential department Official Orders such as this can be found online on MSP’s Transparency and Accountability webpage.

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