Atlanta police chief halts all vehicle chases

City of Atlanta police officers will no longer chase suspects’ vehicles while the department reviews its protocol, Chief Erika Shields said Friday.

“Please know that I realize this will not be a popular decision; and more disconcerting to me personally, is that this decision may drive crime up,” Shields said in a memo to the department announcing the change. “I get it.”

The announcement follows several deadly incidents. Last month, two motorists — one on the way to pick up medicine for his disabled child — were killed when they were struck by a stolen car whose drivers were fleeing pursuit, Atlanta police said. A driver in a stolen vehicle fleeing police smashed into a woman’s car on New Year’s Eve, killing her, police said.

At a Friday news conference, Shields said the department’s greatest successes are not achieved through car chases while noting the risk to innocent motorists.