It has always been one of the most contentious public safety debates in Tampa Bay: Should police be allowed to chase nonviolent criminals? Is chasing a stolen car worth risking lives?
In Hillsborough County, officers have more leeway to chase those criminals. Many of their Pinellas brethren do not.
According to a recent St. Petersburg Times/Bay News 9 poll, 44 percent of Hillsborough and Pinellas residents support allowing officers to chase those suspected of nonviolent crimes.
But 43 percent oppose it, with 14 percent undecided. The margin of error: 4 percentage points.
Jim Chambers, 74, of Tampa, supports pursuing car thieves.
“I think they absolutely should. If someone steals your car you want them to chase them.”