After deputy faces charges, Jackson County Sheriff announces changes to vehicle pursuit policy

LEE'S SUMMIT, Mo. -- Jackson County Sheriff Darryl Forte has announced a new policy on police chases after a deputy was charged after an on-duty crash that left a driver critically injured.

In a lengthy Facebook post, Forte announced that a more restrictive vehicle pursuit policy was established in April 2019.

"In March 2019, the commanders of the Sheriff’s Office met to review the vehicle pursuit policy. After their review, the commanders recommended modifications to the vehicle pursuit policy. The pursuit policy was modified to include guidelines that specify the criteria for Deputies to initiate or become involved in a vehicle pursuit. Terminology in the pursuit policy was clearly defined to ensure compliance. The commanders reviewed the modified vehicle pursuit policy with sworn personnel after making the necessary modifications. Furthermore, Commanders and Deputies discussed tactics and reviewed options that can be used to produce successful and safer outcomes during vehicle pursuits. After legal review from the Jackson County Counselors, a restrictive vehicle pursuit policy was established on April 13, 2019," the post reads.

The Sheriff's Office suspended all chases after Deputy Sean Stoff crashed into an innocent driver near 350 Highway and Maple Street in Raytown while chasing a suspect.

Chris Reed was thrown from his vehicle and was taken to the hospital with "serious, disabling injuries," according to court documents.

Stoff was charged with one count of operating  a vehicle in a careless and imprudent manner involving an accident.

The Sheriff's post goes on to say that he is confident in the new policy.

"The value of life and property must remain at the forefront of what we do, especially during vehicle pursuits. Vehicle pursuits are necessary to apprehend some felonious criminals who pose a serious threat to the general public. The current vehicle pursuit policy of the Jackson County, MO Sheriff’s Office places a priority on the life of the general public, the Deputy and the suspect. Failing to train and failing to supervise are two paramount areas of concern in the law enforcement profession. I am confident that our restrictive policy addresses those areas of interest and will be useful in protecting life and property."

In an updated Facebook post, Sheriff Forte said the restrictive vehicle pursuit policy did not occur solely because of one incident.

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