(WGHP) — Across the state, Highway Patrol troopers are engaging in more pursuits each year.  

These are the numbers a spokesperson sent FOX8:

2019: 454 

2020: 616 

2021: 896 

In the Triad, some law enforcement agencies are seeing a similar trend. Guilford County Sheriff Danny Rogers believes he knows why.

“Raise the Age has been chaotic and a monster to law enforcement, especially when it comes to driving,” Rogers said.

The sheriff is tracking more young people driving and willing to dodge a deputy in Guilford County.

“That young generation has no fear. They have no fear in driving. They have no fear in guns. No fear in disrespect…they have no fear in going to jail or going to prison,” Rogers said.

His office changed its chase policy in 2019 two years after a crash on Battleground Avenue when deputies chased after a suspect, and innocent lives were taken.  

At the time, they pursued vehicles for red light violations, speeding and failure to signal. Now, they only turn on their lights and sirens for dangerous situations where someone’s life is in jeopardy.

“When you’re a young deputy, your adrenaline just gets pumped up, and you just go, and you just want to get that person,” Rogers said.

A similar policy is helping the Burlington Police Department keep its numbers down.

“We do around 7,000 traffic stops a year. There were only six last year to end up in pursuits,” Captain Nick Wright said.

Wright says sometimes it’s frustrating to put the brakes on a chase.

“We aren’t giving up. We have other ways to go about apprehending that person, and we’ve been very successful in that,” Wright said.

When a split-second decision is needed, Sheriff Rogers’ deputies use their discretion and a watch commander’s order.

“If the road is empty, there’s low traffic on the road, nine times out of ten we’re going to get you stopped,” Rogers said.

When FOX8 pushed State Highway Patrol about why their numbers are rising, they sent us this statement in response:

As an agency, there have been no policy or procedural changes on our part attributing to a rise in the number of pursuits in the preceding years.  The decision to not comply with a traffic stop and an attempt to flee falls on the driver of the violator vehicle themselves.  Although we cannot speak to the emotional or psychological factors that go into a drivers mindset when they decide to flee, we can say that common occurrences of the fleeing driver having active warrants, being impaired, possessing illegal narcotics/weapons or having just committed a crime and is in the process of escaping the area are often later determined. 

The work of a law enforcement officer is inherently dangerous and pursuits are one of the most dynamic aspects of our work.  The decision to continue a pursuit after it has been initiated is not taken lightly by the involved member(s) or by the monitoring supervisor(s).  The continual evaluation of speeds, location, weather, traffic conditions, and reason for pursuit are taken into consideration when determining to continue a pursuit.  The safety of the public, the involved member and the violator are all taken into consideration when a pursuit is initiated and during the continued pursuit.

–State Highway Patrol