A serious accident in Summerdale Wednesday is prompting FOX10 News to ask questions about pursuit policies by various departments.

Summerdale Police say the suspect, Thomas Norton, had felony rape and burglary warrants.

Police Chief Kevin Brock said the department's policy allows officers to pursue vehicles if the need for apprehension outweighs the danger.

Brock said, "So, in this case, there was not a lot of danger, as far as other vehicles on their road, not many.  The officers felt like they could pursue the vehicle safely and kept their distance and tried not to, you know, push him and egg him on to go any faster kind of thing."

The Mobile County Sheriff's Office says it's policy is to call off pursuits, especially on interstates and highways, but it's up to the supervisor in charge.

The pursuit policy by the Baldwin County Sheriff's Office says "When it becomes apparent that the immediacy of apprehension is outweighed by a clear and unreasonable danger to the deputy and others, the pursuit should be abandoned."

I also talked via Skype with Tom Gleason, a former officer on the board of a group called PursuitSAFETY.

He said police consider many factors when starting and ending a pursuit.

Gleason said, "Road conditions, direction of travel, charges, all of these should be taken into consideration, and the field supervisor should be the one to make the decision whether to continue with the pursuit."

He also said if police know who the person is, have a car description and tag number, it could influence their decision.

Gleason said, "I can get a warrant on him, and, then, have a warrant issued, have a task force go pick him up, all of these things are taken into consideration before you jeopardize the lives of citizens and yourself."

There's no response as of yet from the Mobile Police Department.

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