U.S. border authorities are announcing changes to how officials will pursue crime suspects.
Customs and Border Protection announced Wednesday that, after a lengthy review process, updated directives would guide agents to weigh risks and benefits when considering pursuit of a suspect at the border.
“CBP Officers/Agents, may engage in and continue emergency driving, including a vehicle pursuit, only when and for as long as the Officer/Agent determines that the law enforcement benefit and need for emergency driving outweighs the immediate and potential danger created by such emergency driving,” CBP’s policy states.
The policy further bans chases that enter Mexico or Canada.
“Any vehicle pursuit that is reasonably believed to be destined for a foreign country shall be communicated to the appropriate foreign agencies through established local standard operating procedures,” the policy states.
“Officers/Agents must operate CBP emergency equipped vehicles in a reasonable and prudent manner and are responsible for continually evaluating and balancing that the law enforcement benefit of, and need for, emergency driving outweighs the immediate and potential danger created by such emergency driving.”
READ THE UPDATED PURSUIT POLICY. APP USERS: CLICK HERE
The updated guidelines are a response to a rise in vehicular accidents — some fatal — occurring in the pursuit of suspects by law enforcement.
A 38-year-old Border Patrol agent was killed in a high-speed pursuit of a group of illegal immigrants in Mission, Texas, last month.
“As a professional law enforcement organization, CBP is continually updating policies to reflect best practices, public safety needs and evolving public expectations,” said Acting Commissioner Troy Miller. “The safety of officers, agents and the public are paramount as we carry out our mission.”
One person died and 11 others were injured when they were ejected from a crashed pickup truck in South Texas in November that authorities suspect was connected to human smuggling.
Law enforcement tried to pull the driver over after he ran a red light in La Joya, a town on the border in Hidalgo County.
The driver tried to evade law enforcement but wrecked the pickup, and all 12 passengers were ejected.