ND law enforcement see increase in vehicle pursuits

BISMARCK, N.D. - Police officers and sheriff's deputies may have flashing lights and sirens, but that doesn't mean drivers always pull over when they’re instructed to.

In fact, they say people take off more often than they used to.

The latest pursuit was in Burleigh County last week.

Deputies say they believe 27-year-old Darryl King Jr. and 25-year-old Serenity Bearking are now in another state.

Bearking is wanted on warrants in Burleigh, Morton, and McLean counties.

King is wanted for questioning in several crimes in Bismarck, Mandan and Morton county.

Pursuits don't happen often, but when they do officers and deputies have to be quick on their feet with how they're going to proceed.

State law says agencies are allowed to pursue but have to do it with safety in mind.

"You may think it's funny, you may think it's a joke to flee from the police but you're endangering people's lifes out there by engaging in that behavior and that's not a joke," said Burleigh County Sheriff’s Department Maj. Kelly Leben.

Leben says last year the Burleigh County Sheriff's office had 25 pursuits, and Bismarck police say they have had more than a hundred, almost doubling since the year before.

"We've had a fairly significant increase. And I know that there's been some frustration by the officers that people, it seems like now it's more common where people are fleeing," said Bismarck Police Department Traffic Commander Lt. Jeff Solemsas.

Both departments say officers and deputies have to assure the benefit is worth the risk.

We reached out to Mandan Police for an interview, they said they did not want to be a part of the story.

They did provide us with a copy of their pursuit policy which says they can pursue vehicles as long as they keep the safety of the community in mind.

It also says pursuits should be limited to three vehicles including a supervisor but that can change depending on the circumstance.