Fire and Police Commission: 369 vehicle pursuits by MPD in 2017, 'most since at least 2002'

MILWAUKEE -- The Milwaukee Fire and Police Commission on Wednesday, April 18 released a comprehensive analysis of vehicle pursuits conducted by the Milwaukee Police Department in 2017. This report will be presented to the FPC during its meeting on Thursday, April 19.

According to the report, there were 369 vehicle pursuits in 2017, which is a 21 percent increase from 2016. The report says this is "the most pursuits engaged in by MPD since at least 2002."

The report says there was "a fast decrease" in pursuits beginning in 2010, and a low of 50 by 2010. There was a doubling in the number of pursuits by 2014, from 50 to 99, and another sharp increase in 2015.

Pursuits happen most frequently after 5 p.m., according to the report.

In 2017, MPD's District 5 reported the most pursuits (106).

More than 100 of the pursuits in 2017 (182 in all) involved speeds at or above 76 miles-per-hour.

As it relates to pursuits involving crashes, the report notes that in 2007, 47.2 percent of vehicle pursuits resulted in a crash, while in 2017 the figure was 23 percent -- the lowest percentage occurrence of crashes since at least 2007.

The report notes that there were two pursuits involving fatalities in 2017. One happened on Jan. 20, 2017, when a pursuit was initiated of a vehicle taken in an armed robbery earlier that day. The report says the suspect vehicle blew a red light and was struck by an oncoming vehicle. The driver and passenger died.

Teens killed in crash at 31st and Capitol on January 20th

Teens killed in crash at 31st and Capitol on January 20th

Oscar Rash and Antoine Jones

On Aug. 27, 2017, a pursuit was initiated of a vehicle taken in an armed robbery hours earlier. According to the report, after driving against traffic in the wrong lane, the driver of the suspect vehicle lost control and struck a pole. A passenger was found trapped under the vehicle. MCTS officials helped lift the vehicle off the passenger, and life-saving measures were attempted, but were unsuccessful.


Suspects were apprehended after just 113 of the 369 pursuits in 2017, the report says. That's the lowest apprehension rate since at least 2007.

The median age of pursuit suspects has decreased since 2002 -- when it was 38. It's now 19, up fro 18 in 2016.

The report details MPD's pursuit policy evolution. In 2017, changes were made to the pursuit policy, allowing officers to chase reckless drivers and mobile drug dealers. Previously, officers could only chase vehicles they believed were connected to violent crimes.

CLICK HERE to access the full report.