The past 23 days have been eventful for the Vandalia Police Department as officers have been a part of four high speed chases in less than a month. Vandalia Police Chief Christopher Hammann confirmed a total of six high speed chases where they were either a part of a pursuit or provided assistance to other area law enforcement in the past 60 days alone.
On back to back days June 9 and June 10, the Vandalia Police Department pursued vehicles driving more than 90 m.p.h. before terminating the pursuit out of city limits for safety reasons.
Two more chases took place on July 1 with one ending in a suspect not being arrested but later issued a warrant after a chase on Route W.
The other involved Vandalia police officers blocking off intersections in town as a suspect was pursued by other agencies at speeds in excess of 90 m.p.h. That chase ended with the suspect crashing his car in Curryville and never being identified or arrested.
“Obviously, the safety of the public is our No. 1 priority,” Hammann noted. “Some of the chases have been at 3 o’clock in the morning where there’s been minimum traffic. The pursuit at 10:30 p.m., we blocked the intersections to make sure citizens would not get in the middle of the pursuit at that time.”
Chief Hammann said his officers will have no choice but to pursue a subject if they’ve committed a felony.
”We want to do any-thing we can do to stop them so they don’t get away or flee at that point. Obviously, if they have already committed a felony, they are a risk to anyone that comes into contact with them in the future.”
Chief Hammann said when a pursuit enters town, the department is required by others agencies to then be involved in the pursuit. Each situation is looked at on a case by case basis.
Spike strips can be deployed as the VPD now has them in their in-service vehicle.
During the night of the chase that ended in Curryville, VPD officers were unable to get Callaway County to confirm felony charges so no spike strips were used. Communication can be a struggle for law enforcement agencies as a suspect goes from one jurisdiction to another at a high rate of speed.
Another challenge is that some county departments use MOSWYN to relay radioed orders
Chief Hammann noted that an internal review is made after every chase to make sure officers were acting within the department’s policies and procedures on the issue.
“Our policy covers state and local law and is also in conjunction with MIRMA to make sure we’re within our policies and procedures,” Chief Hammann said.