Toledo Police Annual Pursuit Analysis – 2015
The following is a review of the Annual Pursuit Analysis, which is required by CALEA on an annual basis. The report was written with a focus on the interpretation of data, analysis of pursuit policy violations (or lack of pursuit policy violations), and a detailed analysis of pursuits that have ended in injury accidents. This additional pursuit analysis should assist in the identification of any pursuit related issues experienced by the agency, as well as, aid in the process to identify recommendations to resolve these issues through the use of better supervision, improved training, and changes in the department’s pursuit policy. The purpose of this analysis is to provide the chief of police, a detailed and accurate report of the pursuit operations being conducted by this agency, as well as, specific recommendations to reduce the personal and financial liability associated with pursuit operations.
The above chart displays the number of pursuits which have occurred from 2010 through 2015. The number of vehicle pursuits dropped from 100 in 2014 to 94 in 2015. This marks the second consecutive year that the number of vehicle pursuits, initiated by Toledo Police Officers, has declined.
The above chart displays the reasons officers gave for initiating vehicle pursuits in 2015. A violation of a traffic offense was the most frequent reason (55 occasions) officers gave for iniating a pursuit. This means that 52% of the pursuits initated in 2015, were initiated for traffic violations.
The majority of vehicle pursuits took place between 2000 hours and 0400 hours. There were 38 pursuits that took place between 0000 hours and 0400 hours. In 2015, vehicle pursuits initiated by Toledo Police Officers lasted an average of three (3) minutes in duration. Additionally, 47% of all pursuits lasted between two and four minutes. The longest pursuit in 2015 was 24 minutes in duration.
The majority of vehicle pursuits in 2015 were terminated due to either the suspect stopping, or the suspect stopping and fleeing on foot. Additionally, 25% of vehicle pursuits were terminated due to accidents, which a decrease of 9% compared to the percentage in 2014. The number of vehicle pursuits terminated by a supervisor’s order increased to eight in 2015. Also, counted in this supervisor ordered column was the number of instances (three) officers terminated a pursuit due to danger. Supervisors cited the suspect vehicle traveling at high speed or operating in a reckless manner for the reasons the pursuit was terminated in six of these instances. Pursuits were terminated for territorial restrictions and a known suspect in the other two instances.
|Stop Sticks Used
||Were they Effective
There were three instances where officers deployed stop sticks during vehicle pursuits in 2015. In all three instances, the suspect vehicle struck the device and deflated one or all of the tires. In two instances, the tires deflated immediately affectively ending the pursuit. In the third instance, the vehicle was able to drive a short distance before crashing.
||Out of Policy
In 2015, the number of pursuits found out of policy increased significantly, which is likely due to one of two factors. The first factor affecting the increase in violations is the way the violations were counted. In the past, if there was no violation indicated at the first level of review a box was marked and that is what was included in the data. However, there were several occasions a violation was observed during the ascending level of review. There was no place on the form to indicate that a violation was observed; and therefore, this information could not be entered and collected at a later time. Also, the department initiated a pursuit review committee in 2015. This committee reviews each vehicle pursuit in an effort to increase the continuity and consistency of the review process. This committee determined that 14 pursuits were out of policy after this review.
Review of 2015 Incidents
In 2015, there were 26 pursuits that ended in either an accident with property damage or an individual being injured. Below is a further review of 10 incidents which resulted in either a fatal or injury accident; and five additional high risk incidents:
· 2015-VP-00010-Officers observed police units from the City of Oregon in pursuit of a vehicle within City of Toledo limits at 2138 hours. The suspect vehicle had just involved in an armed robbery in Oregon. Toledo Police units join the pursuit and after several minutes the suspect vehicle collides with a third party vehicle causing minor injuries to two of the occupants. The driver of the suspect vehicle was arrested.
· 2015-VP-00022-Officers observed a vehicle with expired plates stopped at a gas station. The driver of the vehicle gave officers false personal information and drove off after being confronted by officers. The officers attempted to stop the vehicle with lights and siren activated, but the suspect refused to comply. The suspect vehicle failed to stop for two red traffic control devices and drove at high rates of speed. The vehicle then turned off the vehicles head lights and shortly after struck a parked pick-up truck. The suspect sustained non-life threatening injuries as a result of the accident.
· 2015-VP-00029-At 1005 hours a vehicle crosses the center lane almost striking a patrol vehicle. Officers turn and attempt to stop the vehicle by activating the overhead lights and siren, but the suspect vehicle refused to comply. The suspect vehicle began to accelerate at a high rate of speed and failed to stop for traffic control devices at Central and Cherry, the suspect vehicle lost control attempting a turn, struck a tree, and crashed into a tree. The driver of the vehicle was not injured.
· 2015-VP-00030-Officers heard someone revving a motorcycle engine at 2244 hours. Officers believed to individual responsible may have been involved in a weapons call earlier that evening. Officers located the subject and attempted to conduct a traffic stop, but the suspect vehicle refused to comply. The subject drove at high rates of speed through areas where pedestrians were present. After traveling 1.4 miles, the suspect “laid the motorcycle down” and fled on foot where he was later apprehended by officers.
· 2015-VP-00051-Officers observed a vehicle that had been used by a homicide suspect earlier that day. The marked police unit attempted to conduct a traffic stop at 1258 hours, but the suspect vehicle refused to comply. The pursuit was initiated at Drexel and Berdan. The suspect vehicle traveled northbound to W. Sylvania before turning west bound. The suspect vehicle accelerated at a high rate of speed, lost control, and struck a metal support pole seriously injuring the suspect.
· 2015-VP-00052-Officers observed a vehicle strike a vehicle in a parking lot and attempted a traffic stop at 1637 hours, but the suspect refused to comply. The officers were able to identify the license plate of the suspect vehicle and provided that information to the dispatcher. The suspect failed to stop or slow for a stop sign at City Park and Dorr. The suspect vehicle turned westbound on Dorr and failed to stop for traffic control devices at Dorr and Lawrence, as well as Dorr and Hawley. The suspect continued westbound failing to stop for additional traffic control devices at Dorr and Detroit, and Dorr and Upton. The suspect vehicle then failed to stop for a traffic control device at Dorr and Parkside, struck a third party vehicle, causing the third party vehicle to strike a pole. The driver of the suspect vehicle was treated and released from Toledo Hospital. Two passengers from the suspect vehicle were transported by life-squad. One passenger from the suspect vehicle was treated and released, while the other was admitted for serious injuries. The driver of the third party vehicle was also treated and released from Toledo Hospital.
Considering the environmental factors involved in this pursuit (nature of offense, known license plate information, time of day, passengers in suspect vehicle, four traffic light violations), the involved officers would have been justified in terminating this pursuit, prior to the pursuit ending in a collision. The level of danger involved in this pursuit clearly outweighed the consequences of the suspects escape.
· 2015-VP-00055-Sergeant observed a vehicle matching the description of a highly intoxicated burglary suspect at 2257 hours. As the sergeant was turning around the suspect vehicle took off at a high rate of speed. The Sergeant notified dispatch that he had observed the vehicle and also gave the direction that the vehicle was heading but stated at this time he was not in pursuit. Sergeant continued to follow the vehicle and by doing so he witnessed the suspect vehicle run a stop sign and a stop light it was at that time that the sergeant activated his overhead lights and sirens. Suspect refused to pull over and while still traveling at a high rate of speed continued north on Burnham; the vehicle then came to a railroad crossing where it lost control. The vehicle became airborne and landed sideways in the middle of Laskey Rd. The vehicle then began to flip end over end and went over a ravine where it went through a chain link fence and finally came to rest. Vehicle caught on fire and the suspect was removed. The suspect sustained non-life threatening injuries.
· 2015-VP-00061-Undercover officers witnessed a stolen vehicle traveling on Hamilton to Collingwood and alerted area crews at 1713 hours. Officers responded and attempted to stop the vehicle with lights and sirens but the suspect refused. The suspect vehicle, attempting to elude the police, entered onto the expressway. Shortly after, the suspect vehicle exited at I75 Southbound at South Avenue where it ran a stop sign, veered off the roadway into a ditch which launched the vehicle into the air causing it to land on another vehicle that was heading westbound on South. Suspect was treated for minor injuries and released.
· 2015-VP-00065-Officers observed a motorcycle travelling at a high rate of speed run through a red light at Door and Detroit at 0017 hours. The officers who were headed in the opposite direction turned around and activated its overhead lights and sirens in an attempt to stop the motorcycle. The motorcyclist failed to comply and sped off. The motorcycle continued down Hawley where it ran a flashing red light at Indiana. The suspect still continuing down Hawley attempted to make a westbound turn onto Nebraska where it lost control and went into the parking lot of a convenience store. The suspect was ejected from his motorcycle and impacted a pole. The pursuit lasted 28 seconds and the suspect had minor injuries.
· 2015-VP-00092-Officers observed a vehicle run a stop sign at Bush and Erie and attempted to stop it at Bush and Champlain at 1840 hours. The officers activated their lights and sirens to initiate a stop but the suspect refused to comply. The vehicle continued down Champlain passing several more streets when it attempted to make a right hand turn onto Chicago. The vehicle was unsuccessful with its turn and struck a utility pole. It then drove through a fence where it struck a cement staircase at 805 Chicago. The pursuit lasted less than two minutes and suspect sustained minor injuries.
The Toledo Police Department has implemented several changes to its pursuit policy since the 2014 vehicle pursuit analysis. First, the department has created a Vehicle Pursuit Review Committee. The committee is led by the Deputy Chief of Operations and is comprised of the District Commanders from both police stations, the Lieutenant of the Planning Section, and members of the Training Academy. The review committee has not recommended any changes to the department’s pursuit policy as of this date, but it has led to more open discussions within the department regarding the implementation and interpretation of the pursuit policy. Furthermore, the members of the training academy have incorporated the lessons learned from this additional review into the in-service training received by all sworn personnel in 2015.
The number of vehicle pursuits and number of pursuits initiated for traffic offenses decreased on 2015. Additionally, the number of pursuits terminated because a supervisor or the initiating officer felt the level of danger was too high increased, as did the number of pursuits found to be out of policy. These factors appear to demonstrate the effect this additional review is having within the department and its approach to vehicle pursuits.
The department has also added pursuit information to its Vehicle Pursuit Form in an effort to collect provide a clearer picture of all vehicle pursuits. This will provide data that should allow greater detail on the use of environmental factors.
Pursuits Terminated by Accident
||% of Total
To further assist in the analysis of the vehicle pursuit data from 2015, this table was created to focus solely on the vehicle pursuits that were terminated due to accidents, in those reporting years, and the reasons those pursuits were initiated.
In 2015, of the vehicle pursuits that ended due to an accident, 46% were initiated due to the suspect vehicle committing a traffic violation. This represents a 20% drop over the previous year.
Another factor that should be considered is, if the pursuit should have been terminated, prior to the accident taking place. The department’s pursuit policy lists several environmental factors that officers shall consider when choosing to either initiate or continue a pursuit. The number of supervisors or officers who terminated pursuits due to the level of danger involved doubled since 2014. This represents a significant improvement and further demonstrates that the increased emphasis being placed on the consideration of environmental factors appears to be filtering down to line supervisors and officers in the operations section.
The final factor in determining how the department could reduce the number of vehicle pursuit related accidents is determining the effectiveness of the review process to ensure that officers are in compliance with department policy. There were 14 occasions, in the 2015 analysis, where officers were found to be in violation of department policy. This is 14 more pursuit violations than were found out of policy in 2014. There were several reasons for this increase. The biggest reason being the Pursuit Review Committee providing an additional level of review and finding several pursuits to be out of policy. This has led to supervisors at the shift level finding several pursuits to be out of policy prior to additional review. Finally, an issue was discovered with the vehicle pursuit form, which contained a box asking if a pursuit was out of review, but was only able to completed by the initial reviewing sergeant. If a violation was discovered during the additional levels of review, then the necessary disciplinary process took place, but the form could not be changed.
The Toledo Police Department has addressed several vehicle pursuit related issues in 2015 due to changes made as a result of previous vehicle pursuit analysis reports. It is recommended that the department continue to use this additional level of review for vehicle pursuits in order to maintain the emphasis on environmental factors during vehicle pursuits. This committee should make any necessary recommendations for changes in the vehicle pursuit policy or any additional in-service training by the end of 2016.
The second issue that must be addressed is the confusion being caused by the Vehicle Pursuit Form. Each supervisor who reviews a vehicle pursuit form should have the ability to clearly note that a vehicle pursuit was not within departmental policy. It is recommended that the form be changed to include a section where each supervisor reviewing the pursuit can clearly indicate if a vehicle pursuit was within departmental policy.