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Rules on police chasing can vary by department

The chase that killed Bellaire Police Officer Marco Zarate went through neighborhoods and crossed city lines. Because there were different cities involved, we found out there are also different chase policies.

The chase that killed Bellaire Police Officer Marco Zarate went through neighborhoods and crossed city lines. Because there were different cities involved, we found out there are also different chase policies.

"You are sending a dangerous message to the punks out there who chose to run if you say we are not going to chase you if you run," said Ray Hunt with the Houston Police Officers' Union.

It's one of the most dangerous things officers do high speed chases involving suspects. However, depending on which department is in pursuit, the rules can vary.

"If the Bellaire Police Department chases someone inside the city limits of Houston, it's not our policy that dictates what that Bellaire officer does. It's his policy," Hunt said.

That's what happened to Zarate.

"I don't think anybody here would want a police officer to a possible robbery because it was one block out of their jurisdiction," said Bellaire Police Chief Byron Holloway.

Zarate was killed when his motorcycle crashed into a parked trailer. Bellaire's policy calls for motorcycles to fall back when other up units arrive, but they didn't get there in time.

"I don't think we will ever get to the point where we'll just say no pursuits," Holloway said. "I think we'll have chaos and anarchy."

Hunt says there are protections in place.

"We have policies about prohibiting chasing someone the wrong way. We have policies that the initiating unit can disregard the chase if they feel it's too dangerous for them to continue chasing," he said.

However, without tougher penalties, Hunt believes the chasing won't stop.

"Until you start making an example of people who are blatantly violating the law and putting people in jeopardy, you're not going to stop them," he said.