NASHVILLE, N.C. (WNCN) — As police pursuits increase around the country, at least two North Carolina law enforcement agencies say they won’t be backing off on chasing bad guys.

The sheriffs of Edgecombe and Nash Counties say they will work to better manage those situations in the name of public safety.

High-speed chases often lead to injuries to the public, the person being chased or officers themselves, that’s why the sheriffs say they have to be tightly controlled and called off if circumstances warrant.

Hot pursuits are a growing concern and Nash County is seeing more and more of them.

“Since 2018, Nash County has had 52 pursuits, and the Highway Patrol had 1053 pursuits in 2022,” said Nash County Sheriff Keith Stone.

Edgecombe County’s Sheriff says his agency averages 20 chases a year.

Hot pursuit policies vary all across the state.

Some agencies say they won’t do them —period.

Other agencies, like Nash and Edgecombe Counties, say they’ll continue them under tight control.

“We want to make sure our law enforcement officers are highly trained,” said Edgecombe County Clee Atkinson. “We want to make sure our supervisors are monitoring the radio and make sure they do what they are supposed to do so that we can determine to either call off the chase or continue with the chase.”

Deputy Des Barmore is one of the front-line officers involved in chases in Nash County.

He’s stopped 5 pursuits in the last couple of years.

He said he’s always concerned about the general public when chases take place.

“That’s the first thing we worry about,” he said. “We’ve called off a pursuit, not being able to justify chasing someone for a license tag or taillight or going into a heavily populated area.”

Supervisors monitor those chases and decide when to pull the plug.

“Supervisors are really good about keeping us safe and trying to keep everybody safe as well as weighing the options and the pros and cons of every pursuit.”

The deputy says he’s used so-called “stop sticks” which are thrown in front of a fleeing car to puncture all tires to help end those chases before they get way out of hand.

“It’s a very scary feeling,” he said.  “You have people who don’t want to stop for law enforcement and you try and end it before he gets somewhere populated or somebody gets hurt or killed,” Barmore said. “That’s the last thing you want to happen.”

Some deputies in Edgecombe and Nash Counties are also trained in the so-called “PIT” (pursuit intervention technique) maneuver where they come up behind a fleeing automobile and push it from behind to spin it out of control.

It takes a lot of time to learn it correctly.