Saint Petersburg, Florida -- The Sun Coast Police Benevolent Association has taken issue with part of the St. Petersburg Police Department's shooting policy.

A letter released to the public on Thursday reads in part:

"The policy reads Officers shall not fire at a moving vehicle or any occupant of a moving vehicle. The officers use of deadly force may be justified if the occupant of a moving vehicle possess an immediate threat with a firearm or fires upon an officer of another, and all other reasonable means to avoid the danger have failed."

It comes a day after a St. Petersburg Police officer shot at a suspected car thief who escaped by ramming into an unmarked police cruiser at the Quick Stop convenience store at 1440 49th Street South.

According to police, the suspect then hit another officer with his vehicle at which point an officer fired several rounds at the fleeing vehicle.

The suspect remains at large as of Thursday night.

Under the policy, the officer who shot at the suspect would be reprimanded.

"To say blanket you cannot don't take your firearm out of your holster and protect yourself or a civilian... it really does handicap our officers and potentially puts our officers and civilians in harm's way," said Michael Krohn, the executive director for the Sun Coast Police Benevolent Association.

But there are those who say that the policy should remain in place.

"To say they've been hamstrung... the only thing that I see in it is that they're being held accountable for suspect actions and poor judgment," said Manuel Skyes.

The St. Petersburg NAACP President said that officers should be making a concerted effort to avoid force and that getting rid of the policy would just encourage the use of force.

"That adage that I was in fear of my life and I drew my weapon and I shot is old," he said.

10 News requested to speak with St. Petersburg Interim Police Chief David DeKay, but he was unavailable as on Thursday for an interview.

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