ST. ANN, Mo. – Video of a dramatic police pursuit in Las Vegas, Nevada is attracting national attention. The viral video has police and citizens in the St. Louis area talking about it.
In the video, Las Vegas police chased two men wanted for gunning down a man who later died. When the suspects shot at cops, police fired back through their own windshield.
The pursuit finally ended outside a grade school. One suspect was killed while the other was taken into custody. Police said both men had extensive criminal records.
St. Ann Police Chief Aaron Jimenez saw the video and said he’d support his officers if they did the same thing. His department has one of the most aggressive pursuit policies in the St. Louis area.
Jimenez said he instructs his officers to chase wanted criminals into other communities and states.
“I would absolutely not reprimand them,” he said. “There would be no consequences whatsoever of disciplining them. I would actually give some kind of award to one of our police officers.”
People in St. Ann had mixed reactions after watching it.
Officers at the St. Louis County Police Training Center teach defensive driving to recruits along with firearm skills, but they instruct students not to use both skills at the same time.
St. Ann’s police policy tells officers not to fire from a moving vehicle unless there’s an imminent threat to the life of an officer or an innocent person and to only fire as a last resort.
In the Nevada incident, Chief Jimenez said it would be okay for his officers to shoot. His message to would-be criminals: don’t come to St. Ann and break the law or you’ll be caught.
“Hold criminals accountable and maybe then crime will continue to go down like it has in St. Ann,” Jimenez said.
The chief said he knows his officers who were acting in good faith may not be criminally charged for shooting an innocent person during such a pursuit, but he would expect to be sued and probably lose the civil suit in court.