(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.) St. Joseph police made five arrests during an overnight operation that targeted drivers who flee from officers.
"The goal was to locate and stop vehicles willing to flee from us," said St. Joseph Police Department Captain Jeff Wilson.
The operation began Thursday night and extended into the early morning hours Friday.
"The operation was a success," said Capt. Wilson. "There were vehicles that did flee from officers. Those vehicles were tracked by air assets and there were arrests made."
Wilson said the operation took several weeks of planning and coordination.
"We saw a problem and we implemented some planning to address that problem," Capt. Wilson said. "Vehicles fleeing when officers initiate traffic stops seem to be commonplace in the recent past. This presents a danger not only to citizens but also speaks to the fact that they're normally involved in some type of criminal behavior that we're trying to stop them for anyway."
The operation drew a lot of attention and questions on social media as to what was happening at the time, but Capt. Wilson says safety was always at the forefront.
"We're aware that can typically take place through social media," Capt. Wilson said. "But our focus is when we plan operations is around safety of all involved in the operation including the people we're trying to apprehend."
The Buchanan County Sheriff's Department, Buchanan County Drug Strike Force, Missouri State Highway Patrol, Andrew County Sheriff's Department, Elwood Police Department, Wathena Police Department and the Doniphan County Sheriff's Department also assisted in the operation.