Sacramento PD Requiring Cops To Consider Not Pursuing People On Foot

The Sacramento Police Department's new foot pursuit policy went into effect in late July.

Sacramento, CA – The Sacramento Police Department has created a new foot pursuit policy in the wake of the officer-involved shooting of Stephon Clark.

Clark, 22, was fatally shot by police on March 18 in his grandparents’ backyard when officers responded to 911 calls about a man breaking into cars and homes.

Recordings later revealed that one of the 911 calls came from Clark’s own grandfather.

Video showed Clark ran from police, then turned and faced them in a shooting stance. Officers fired at Clark, but investigators later determined that he had been holding a cell phone.

The officer-involved shooting is still under internal investigation, and Sacramento Police Chief Daniel Hahn said that the new policy should not be construed as a judgement call regarding how the two officers handled the foot pursuit in Clark’s case, The Sacramento Bee reported.

“[It’s] really a policy to give direction and guidance ... around what our officers are supposed to do, what they’re supposed to think about, what they’re supposed to weigh anytime they get into a situation when they’re chasing after a suspect,” Chief Hahn told The Sacramento Bee.

Under the department’s new policy, which was announced on Monday but went into effect on July 26, officers are required to consider the risks of chasing a suspect on foot, including their own safety, the potential danger to the suspect and public, and the importance of arresting the suspect, KCRA reported.

Prior to initiating a foot pursuit, officers are required to activate their bodycams, specify the reason for the chase, and provide a description of the suspect.

They must then identify themselves as police, issue commands for the suspect to stop, and are required to constantly reassess whether or not the pursuit should continue if the suspect runs into a building or an area with hazardous terrain, The Sacramento Bee reported.

The officer or a supervisor can discontinue the pursuit at any time if the circumstances become too dangerous.

"Officer and public safety should be the overriding consideration in determining whether a foot pursuit will be initiated, continued or terminated," the policy read, according to KCRA.

Chief Hahn said that the policy was developed over a period of four months, and that four members of the community were involved in its creation.

Prior to the officers’ altercation with Clark, the chief said he never gave any thought to developing a foot pursuit policy, The Sacramento Bee reported.

“Throughout history, you know, you just chase somebody,” he explained. “You’re chasing somebody on foot. It’s not like chasing somebody in a car with thousands and thousands of pound vehicle flying down the street, so I never even really thought about it.”

Chief Hahn acknowledged that not everyone would agree that implementation of the policy is the best course of action.

“I can remember in my younger years when we created that larger policy that we have now for vehicle pursuits. There was people in the police department even that said, ‘You know, everybody’s gonna run from us now if we’re gonna cancel pursuits,’” he explained. “Well, that didn’t happen…It actually made us safer.”

“I don’t believe this policy will hamper an officer’s ability to do what we absolutely need them to do in our community, and I do think it will keep both officers and our community safer,” the chief added.

Sacramento Police Officer’s Association President Tim Davis said the union supported the policy implementation.

The policy has already come under fire from groups who complained that it was written without enough community input and that it does not contain penalties for potential violations, KCRA reported.

"This is an irrelevant policy change. It's not going to do any good because the officers are still left to their own discretion as to decide if it is worth pursuing or not," Clark family friend Jamilia Land said. "There is too much wiggle room for these officers. The bottom line is there needs to be accountability – and there is no accountability right now."

Black Lives Matter Sacramento founder Tanya Faison agreed.

“As long as it doesn’t have repercussions, it’s not going to be sufficient,” Faison argued. “You can set a rule, but if you have a rule with no cost, if you break that rule, then it really doesn’t do anything. It symbolizes something good and that’s it.”

Law Enforcement Accountability Directive founder Richard Owens said he believed the policy was a step in the right direction, but asserted that in Clark’s case, the officers should have never pursued him in the first place.

“Stephon Clark only had a cellphone in his hand. He wasn’t even being pursued for a felony,” Owens told KCRA. “So, is that really worth jumping over fences, doing a 40-yard dash through everybody’s neighborhood, through their backyard? To apprehend someone for what would have been a misdemeanor?”

Clark was actually being pursued for felonies.

Although Chief Hahn did not specify whether or not he felt the policy would have changed how Clark was pursued by officers in March, Plumas County Sheriff’s Deputy and police use-of-force expert Ed Obayashi said he did not believe the policy would have affected the outcome of the officer-involved shooting, The Sacramento Bee reported.

In Clark’s case, the officers “had reasonable suspicion that Clark had committed felonies,” Deputy Obayashi explained. “In those circumstances the officers have no choice. If someone is trying to break into a home, those officers are obligated to apprehend that subject.”

“No policy I know of would have stopped or prevented it,” he asserted. “If the Stephon Clark incident happened next week and this policy was in place, it would not have prevented what happened.”

Comments (20)
No. 1-19
ProGODProUSA
ProGODProUSA

California ... again ...

jmp022871
jmp022871

ARE YOU NUCKING FUTS?!!?

hampshire
hampshire

Well that would be open season to vomit thief etc

gfc1963
gfc1963

The criminals can have a free run at anything now. Commit a crime and run and the cops won't chase you??

AnnykaV
AnnykaV

Oh for fuck's sake.

RunCop
RunCop

Analfornia....what did you except ! Liberal scum

LEO0301
LEO0301

Another mind boggling decision from the moronic state of California.

Just-My-Thoughts
Just-My-Thoughts

Oh hell, lay off the cops and let the idiots run rampant and see if they want the police back or not. The police can't win even when they're not involved in something. Let these communities defend themselves. It's like they NEVER do ANYTHING wrong. OHHHH Look at Chicago last weekend and nobody saw nuffin..........bunch of idiots who actually do nuffin to improve themselves...

JBo
JBo

Just stop arresting protected groups of people and the problem will work itself out.

Logic Required
Logic Required

Come to San Francisco , commit a misdemeanour and as long as you run they can’t chase , ffs lol

Logic Required
Logic Required

Also the whole stuff about changing vehicle pursuit policy having no effect is rediculous. They did that in London for mopeds, can’t chase if they have no helmet, a passenger etc. Guess what happened, moped thieves took off their helmets when police got behind them knowing they would have to cancel the pursuit. Moped crime soared. Surprising ain’t it.

NTPD935Ret
NTPD935Ret

Sacramento doesn’t need cops on the street or patrol cars, they just need report takers every 10 blocks or so, who have a politically correct observer with them to make sure they know the proper way to kiss the complaint’s butt without hurting them or their feelings. I feel so bad for the working street coppers that want to catch bad guys. They must have such heartburn from working under these policies and procedures.

“Sacramento Police Officer’s Association President Tim Davis said the union supported the policy implementation.” Sure they agree. Why, because it gives their officers an excuse not to get involved in anything so they don’t lose their jobs over any action they may have taken. Because we all know, “You’re damned if you do and you’re damned if you don’t.” Except now the policy says don’t do anything. “Hey, I was just staying within department policy!”

Gramercy
Gramercy

why doesn't Sacramento either let the police DO THEIR JOB...or go ahead and be a police-less city..see how far that gets them!

Ladyfluterby
Ladyfluterby

I live in Sacramento and it is so out of control. This city and this state as a whole is well on it's way to being a third world state where the criminals run the show. The politicians cater to the criminals and support their behavior at every turn. Those of us who just live and work here are considered the enemy because we expect to be able to do so without criminals. I feel so sorry for LEO's because they are not allowed to do their jobs and instead have to be overly concerned that they don't hurt someones feelings by holding the accountable for their actions. Can't wait to get the hell out of this state.

magnumforc
magnumforc

Run the suspect over with the car...no need for a foot chase after all....

hangemhigh
hangemhigh

Observe and Report Officers. About time. Arm police with cameras and a pistol for self defense. When a felony crime is reported (misdemeanors are de-criminalized) to Central Dispatch (located in Pakistan for economic reasons) an Officer is sent to the crime scene. If he sees the criminal he punches the "I see criminal" symbol on his Police Walkie Talkie computer. If not, he hits the "No see criminal" symbol. In either case he waits for Dispatch for his next move. Typically, if he sees the criminal, Dispatch will have him take a photo. Of course, the face will be blurred so as not to embarrass the law breaker. If he doesn't see a criminal he will take a break until he is dispatched again. At the end of shift he will turn any photos in to his Shift Commander who will fax then to Pakistan for any recommendations. Result: no criminals shot, no protests and no riots. Everyone is happy. Except the victims, of course, but then crime is just part and parcel of living.

MadMaxxx
MadMaxxx

A few years ago The Los Angeles Police Commission wanted all L.A. Police to run from armed suspects.

Amylou
Amylou

Get out of CA...they are nuts!

Burgers Allday
Burgers Allday

Interesting pull quote: You know, everybodys gonna run from us now if were gonna cancel pursuits, he explained. Well, that didnt happenIt actually made us safer.