Fairfax County police to implement changes to vehicle pursuit policy

- There are changes coming to the Fairfax County Police Department on how they start, continue and end car chases.

The new policy focuses on three main points concerning when officers can pursue a suspect. All three of these criteria must be met:

- The driver or passengers in the vehicle must have committed, are committing or are threatening to commit a violent felony
- The driver refuses to stop when given orders to do so
- The need for apprehension outweighs the danger to the public

Even though some officers have already been implementing these policies on their own, we are told now it will be put in writing and could be in effect as early as July.

All officers would first have to be trained before the new changes are mandated. Fairfax County Police Chief Edwin Roessler said he will also undergo training on the new pursuit policy. He said the new policy is based on best practices in place over the past several decades.

“This is all to protect human life – the officer's life and community member’s life – because pursuits are dangerous, deadly and we need to make sure that we don't have any innocent people killed,” Roessler said. “It should take about three months to train all the officers in the department so it's my goal to get this done by the beginning of the fall.”

Chief Roessler is still working on a final version of the new pursuit policy. A draft was presented to the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors' Public Safety Committee on Wednesday.

Police pursuits are reportedly up across the county compared to previous years.

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