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A table of photographs sits at the entrance of the Brusly High School football field for the candlelight vigil of Maggie Dunn and Caroline Gill on Monday, January 2, 2023 in Brusly, Louisiana. The two girls died in a vehicle crash, as an Addis police officer pursued a suspect. 

Between 2016 and 2022, Baton Rouge Police officers launched 926 car chases, and 101 of those chases — almost 1 in 9 — resulted in crashes, according to a new report from the department. 

In those 101 crashes, 46 bystanders were injured and 3 were killed, the report says. 

BRPD released the stats at the request of city leaders who are scrutinizing how and when officers launch pursuits after two high-profile crashes killed bystanders in recent months. 

"One death is too many," Metro Council member Cleve Dunn Jr. said. "That is a low percentage on the deaths, but it's easy for an analyst or someone to say that's a low percentage, but that's someone's loved one that has died."

Other facts the report showed include:

  • The chases caused 122 incidents of property damage
  • 74 third-party vehicles and 41 other third-party properties were damaged
  • City or state property was damaged 7 times
  • Only one of the 101 crashes was directly caused by an officer; the rest were caused by the suspect being pursued.

Deputy chiefs Myron Daniels and Neal Noel presented the data to the council Wednesday at Dunn's request. 

Some experts have questioned BRPD's policies on crashes, arguing they leave too many decisions up to officers in the heat of the moment.

But BRPD's policies follow national best practices, Noel told the council.

"Every time there’s a a pursuit in the city of Baton Rouge initiated by one of our police officers, he is bound by our policy, which is 15 pages long," Noel said.

All BRPD pursuits are reported to supervisors as soon as they are initiated, and mandatory chase reports are reviewed by supervisors, department leadership and trainers, Noel said. 

Dunn said he hopes the data will lead to a public report and thorough review of BRPD's chase policies. Dunn also asked BRPD to provide specifics about the individual chases, like what crime the person was suspected of when the chase initiated.

"I'd like the conversation, the data and the report to be used to enhance and improve the policy so we decrease or get rid of any types of injuries or deaths as it relates to police chases," Councilman Cleve Dunn Jr. said. 

Officials from the East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff's Office declined to appear Wednesday for Dunn's requested report, a decision from the taxpayer funded agency that Dunn called "unacceptable."

In a statement Thursday, sheriff's office spokesman Casey Rayborn Hicks said the council does not have jurisdiction over the agency and the task of compiling pursuit data would be unreasonable to complete in time for the meeting. 

"Councilman Dunn’s staff instructed the Sheriff’s Office to appear before the Metro Council to present pre-determined extensive statistics and financial data related to a decade of Sheriff’s Office activities," Rayborn Hicks wrote. "Our legal counsel advised the staff member that this information would require considerable time and research to produce, and that the Council does not oversee Sheriff’s Office activities, nor is it legally nor financially liable for any Sheriff’s Office actions."

Hicks also noted that the recent pursuits that ended in fatal crashes did not involve the sheriff's office. 

On March 9th, 56-year-old Victor Remone Duncan died when a driver fleeing a BRPD traffic stop slammed into his truck in the intersection of North Acadian Thruway and Fairfields Avenue. 

After the crash, Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome said she was requesting a full report from BRPD about the pursuit and said chases "should only occur when absolutely necessary, and they should not put the public at an unnecessary risk." 

Last New Years' Eve, Brusly High School students Maggie Dunn and Caroline Gill were killed when an Addis Police officer involved in a high-speed chase that started in Baton Rouge ran a red light and slammed into their car. 

The Addis officer has been charged with manslaughter, and the local district attorney, Tony Clayton, has fiercely criticized how officers in multiple departments, including BRPD, handled the chase. 

State Rep. Edmond Jordan, D-Baton Rouge has said he plans to introduce legislation in the upcoming session to rein in chases, potentially but putting tougher consequences on officers when chases hurt bystanders.  

Like Dunn, Jordan said "one death is too many" when asked about the data Thursday morning. 

Jordan's legislation focuses on ensuring proper review and accountability occurs after a pursuit ends in injury or death for a bystander, he said. Further details on the individual pursuits are needed to draw conclusions about the necessity of each chase, Jordan said. 

"We need to make sure there are serious consequences for if a chase ends in a death or serious bodily injury of a third party, whether that’s five percent, one percent or ten percent," Jordan said.