OKLAHOMA CITY — The Oklahoma Highway Patrol is involved in dozens of high-speed pursuits every year.
Sometimes they help other law enforcement agencies who are trying to catch a crook whether they’re asked to or not.
Now, the Department of Public Safety has decided troopers will no longer get involved in other agencies’ pursuits unless that agency makes a request for OHP assistance.
We’re told there was not one crash or other incident involving state troopers that prompted this policy change.
Officials said it fits a nationwide trend that is trying to keep officers safe.
“Well it’s all about safety. Pursuits are dangerous,” OHP Capt. Chris West said. “We want to work with other police agencies to make sure that we’re not going to do anything that’s going to mess them up.”
West said the more law enforcement cars that are involved in a pursuit, the more dangerous it can be for everyone.
Troopers often help other agencies throughout the year.
In 2011, OHP was involved in 90 pursuits, 19 of which were started by other agencies.
So far this year, they’ve been involved in 76 pursuits, 13 that were started by another department.
West said troopers will sometimes get involved without being asked.
“When you have a lot power, you need to have a lot of rules,” he said.
Initially, the new rule applied to only Troop A, which covers Oklahoma City.
But after a meeting between Public Safety Commissioner Michael Thompson and the Oklahoma State Troopers Association this month, the order was revised to cover the entire patrol.
West said that will ensure troopers visiting the metro will know the rules as well.
“There could be a pursuit and with all good intentions, he could get involved in it and that’s not what we wanted. So we made it a statewide special order,” he said.
The Oklahoma City Police Department and the Oklahoma State Troopers Association did not want to comment on this new rule.
The OSTA said they’re still looking into the policy, which we’re told is effective immediately.