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Opelousas police to reasses high-speed chase policy

Posted at 10:50 PM, Mar 06, 2019
and last updated 2019-03-06 23:53:57-05

The Opelousas Police Department is reassessing its high-speed chase policy.

A chase last week left two officers injured and two police units in need of major repairs. Chief Martin McLendon said the wet conditions last week could have turned out a lot worse.

“We are trying to replenish our fleet and losing two units on that night in hot pursuit, obviously caused some hardships on the department,” McLendon said.

McLendon drove KATC’s Justice Henderson on the route of the chase on Wednesday. It was a residential neighborhood, where he says high speeds should never occur.

“Basically pay attention and if they see officers in pursuit of a vehicle to pull to the right side of the road or get as clear as possible out of the way, our concern is to protect people. The property and life, and to cause the minimum amount of harm to anyone in the area,” McLendon said.

McLendon said his main concern is the safety of his officers, however, he doesn’t want to wreck any more of his units. He wants all officers and units on the streets protecting the people in the city.

“We have been in contact with other departments to try and find out what is their policy and what they are doing when they encounter pursuit. We have found out that some departments prohibit pursuits completely so we just want to make sure we’re doing the right thing and so we are having these conversations,” McLendon said.

I spoke with several people in the community today who said they do believe in community policing, but they wish high-speed chases through the city would end.