Local Police Chief Discusses Decision Behind Recent Police Chase
When members of law enforcement are trying to pull someone over who's refusing to do so, deciding how to handle the situation comes down to their training. New York State Troopers and officers at a local police department had to deal with two separate pursuits this past weekend.
“The officers have to constantly weigh what they’re doing against the potential risk,” said Schodack Police Chief Joseph Belardo.
The risk Sunday evening was a driver they believed to be drunk, driving the wrong way on the highway.
“I think we avoided a potentially serious situation on I-90 by ending it where we did,” Belardo said.
Police say Corey Cheney refused to stop when New York State Police troopers tried to pull him over in the town of New Lebanon around 6:15 Sunday night. After using a spike strip, they were unable to stop him, and say he continued with damaged tires, and tried to get onto I-90 going the wrong way.
Schodack Police were able to box Cheney's car in, and forced him towards a snow bank to stop him. When they pulled him from the car, it appeared Cheney had self-inflicted cuts on his arms. He was sent to Albany Medical Center for treatment.
“I think they made a pretty brave decision by putting themselves in harm’s way to end it the way they did,” Belardo said.
But even if authorities follow department policy, the outcome isn’t always good. Less than 12 hours before that chase, New York State Police troopers were involved in another chase beginning in Schoharie County. At the time, driver Emmanuel Humphreys was on the phone, saying he wanted to find something big enough to crash into and die.
"A lot of times we terminate chases, but with this one in particular, he’s saying he’s looking for something big enough to kill himself, and we don’t want that to be another car with innocent people in it, so we were trying to take every step we could to get him stopped,” said New York State Police Captain Robert Patnaude during a press conference Sunday afternoon.
The chase, which lasted 21 miles, ended when Humphreys hit a dump truck in Rotterdam. He died at the scene.
“You have to weigh the reasons why you’re trying to stop them and the danger that that person poses if you don’t stop them,” Belardo said.
He says he’s thankful his department was able to stop a dangerous situation from becoming fatal.
“Your hope is that you can put a quick end to it, nobody gets hurt," Belardo said. "You don’t want this person going out and hurting anybody else, you don’t want your officers getting hurt while they’re involved in this and you don’t want the driver hurt, either."
Although the police chase that ended in Schodack began with New York State Police, the Schodack Police Department is handling the case. The officer in the SUV that pushed Cheney's car into the snow bank sustained minor injuries.