A policy revision that went into effect at the end of last year limiting police car chases to serious crimes garnered criticism today from Assemblyman Brian Bergen (R-Denville), who claimed the policy change is liable to increase crime.
“Criminals are stealing cars to hide their identity as they commit other offenses, and now cops can’t pursue a possible stolen vehicle,” Bergen said in a statement. “It’s ridiculous and irresponsible. I support our police and demand that the administration start treating them like the professionals they are and stop handcuffing them at every turn.”
Police officers can in theory no longer initiate a car chase if a driver is speeding or recklessly driving, unless the officer determines the driver “poses an imminent threat to the safety of the public or other officers” – a relatively wide loophole. If the officer “reasonably believes” that the driver committed a serious crime, such as murder, burglary, or arson, the policy allows for a vehicle chase.
The revision went into effect under former acting Attorney General Andrew Bruck; Bruck has since been replaced by acting Attorney General Matt Platkin, whom Bergen urged to change the policy.
“The new Attorney General Matt Platkin should immediately roll back these politically motivated and completely nonsensical policies,” Bergen said. “Time to see if this attorney general is interested in public safety or politics, and this is his first test.”