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Milwaukee Police Chief responds to pursuit policy question

MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- Thursday's crash once again raised questions about the department's pursuit policy.

A question about the policy drew an angry reaction from the Police Chief during a press conference on Friday.

The Chief told reporters that he would answer two questions. A reporter asked Chief Morales: "Can you tell us if a Sergeant or someone had called off this chase prior to the accident?"

"We have an officer that died yesterday. We are grieving and you all are trying to create controversy. We have an officer that died committed to the community. All he wanted to do was be a police officer and we loved him, could you give us some days to grieve, please," Milwaukee Police Chief Alfonso Morales responded.

When 23-year-old Officer Charles Irvine died, he was pursuing a suspect.

There has been a back and forth debate on police pursuits in Milwaukee from the department, community, and city leaders in the past.

In 2010, Milwaukee Police could only pursue drivers with violent felonies.

Last September, that policy changed to allow officers to chase reckless drivers and drug dealers.

In 2017 after the policy change, police pursuits were up 20% from the year before.

So far in 2018, that number is even higher. 

The Mayor did not comment on the police department's pursuit policy but did call for unity between the community and police department at this time.

Stay with CBS 58 News for more information on this developing story. 

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