Video captures multi-agency police chase that ends in a pit maneuver on I-94

West Allis Police, Hales Corners Police, and Milwaukee County Sheriff's Office were pursuing a car on Monday, March 11.
Posted at 4:37 PM, Mar 13, 2024

HALES CORNERS, Wis. — Multiple law enforcement agencies chased a car on Interstate 94 Monday afternoon.

Most of the incident was caught on camera, and video shows the shocking way police stopped the car in traffic. Our sister station in Milwaukee, TMJ4, obtained the video from SafetyVid.

The chase started on Monday, March 11, after 2 p.m. in Hales Corners. Hales Corners Police Department (HCPD) officers told me they got a call from two people who were stealing from Walgreens. When the officer got there, he saw the people with the stolen items in hand, get in a gray Honda Accord and speed off.

"The officer tried to pull the vehicle over on the 5600 block of South 108th. The vehicle sped up and a pursuit ensued," Lt. Anthony Henner with HCPD said.

Henner said they requested mutual aid from West Allis Police and the Milwaukee County Sheriff's Office.

Once the car was back on I-94, Henner said the squads that are shown in the surveillance video, chasing the car on I-94, are West Allis Police squads. They were specifically brought in to stop the Honda.

"West Allis is trained in pit maneuver and it is in their policy, so that's why we requested they do it. It is not in our policy to do pit maneuvers," Henner explained.

You can see the squads pull up to the Honda, slowing it down, and the squad behind the Honda performing the pit, eventually stopping the car.

"There was not heavy traffic on the interstate, and the pursuit had been long enough, and the area they were in at the time was the most opportune time to perform the maneuver safely, and it was performed safely," Henner added.

It's a maneuver that's use has been questioned by police departments and police review boards nationwide.

Retired police captain and pit maneuver instructor, Tom Gleason, said in this case police did it right.

"At the time when they pitted the individual, it did not appear to me to pose a big threat to other traffic because the traffic was mostly behind them," Gleason explained.

Gleason has more than 40 years of combined police and teaching experience. He's taught other law enforcement agencies about the pit maneuver in 32 states and one foreign country.

He explained, that when he was a police captain in Florida, his department only chased for violent felony or if there was a great risk to the public. If it was a misdemeanor or non-violent crime like property or retail theft, Gleason said his officers would take alternative measures.

"You handle that pursuit like any other investigation. If I can get a tag number, with all the cameras and everything that we have now," Gleason said. "You have enough stuff out there that you can pull from as to follow up on the majority of these pursuits because there's cameras everywhere."

Gleason and another law enforcement expert we talked to Tuesday said because officers were able to slow the Honda down significantly on the highway, the threat to the other cars was relatively low.

HCPD officers told TMJ4 they can pursue a car if it's a felony crime and not just a violent one. So Lt. Hanner told me, that's why they chased after the Honda in the first place.

Every police department has different policies when it comes to initiating, continuing, and ending pursuits.

Right now, two people are in the Milwaukee County Jail and charges have been referred to the DA's office.

TMJ4 requested all dash camera and body camera footage from all officers, from all different departments, involved in the incident.