Expert: Cleveland Police Lost Control in Deadly 62-Car Chase

11:13 AM, Feb 8, 2013   |    comments
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CLEVELAND (WKYC) -- A national expert on police pursuits says the Cleveland Police Department lost control of its officers during the recent deadly chase and the lack of control suggests a poorly-trained department.

Dr. Dennis Kenney has more than 35 years of experience in varied aspects of criminal justice, including working as a police officer.

Kenney has authored studies, articles and books on the subject of police pursuits.

He took exception to the recent deadly chase being described as the "perfect chase."

Jeff Follmer, president of the Cleveland Police Patrolman's Association, said it was perfect because nobody got hurt, including police and innocent bystanders.

But, two suspects, reportedly unarmed, were killed when their car was riddled with police bullets.

The Ohio Attorney General found that 59 of the 62 police vehicles involved in the chase did not have a supervisor's permission to join in the pursuit.

"That many cars involved in a single incident, it's virtually impossible for there to be any control, Kenney said. "They were spread over several different radio channels and so therefore they were not under any control."

Follmer defended the number of police and cars used in the chase saying "we're coming in numbers and we're going home at the end of the day."

"That puts people needlessly at risk," Kenney said. "It increases the likelihood of an unsuccessful outcome."

Police Chief Michael McGrath said the city's pursuit policy is better than the national standard. But Kenney said he's not at all impressed how the policy was executed.

"The police department lost control of its officers and obviously lost control of them in mass which suggests an organization not very well trained and an organization not very well-supervised, " Kenney said.

McGrath said an internal investigation is underway and promised action would be taken against any officer found in violation of both the department's pursuit policy and its deadly force policy.

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