Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Foot Pursuit

An officer in Castle County Delaware was stabbed to death by a suspect he had been chasing. Foot pursuit is very dangerous and officers need to be careful when performing this activity. Just because someone runs away does not mean you should or can legally chase them. What are your legal grounds for a detention or arrest, apart from the suspect running away? How important is it to capture this person you are chasing? If they have done a minor crime it may not be worth it to run after them.

Is the suspect running into a gang infested housing project? Are you alone or is your partner with you? How soon can you get back up on site, or an air unit? Can you cordon off the area and conduct a search rather than do a foot pursuit? Is the suspect known to be armed? If this is an armed robbery suspect you don’t want to face him one on one at night in some alley. You need to broadcast your location and activity to dispatch; you may need back up to safely affect the arrest.

Suspects that jump fences or run around a building sometimes stop and wait to ambush the officer who is chasing them. Suspects often run into areas they know well and the officer may not know. The officer could run into a pre-planned ambush, or even simply run into a yard with a bad dog, swimming pool or clothes line that can put him out of action. How far can you run before you are too tired to fight? If you run all out for two hundred yards can you still draw your baton and fight some big guy for two minutes? Probably not; that’s what the SGT Says.


Bob G. said...

I hear foot pursuits every few days on the radio here (Ft. Wayne), and most times, they DO catch the perp.
I feel it's because the suspect doesn't know "the lay of the land", AND the police got lucky.

What I do believe is needed is specified "training" in whatever sector, area, or district an officer works.
They need to know the patrol area AS GOOD AS the residents that live there, if not better.

Take some time to roll through EVERY street and alley (slowly), checking for downed fences, overgrown foliage, etc.
If need be, get out of the cruiser and walk an area through.
And by all means, talk with citizens willing to assist with information.

When you have too many places to run in and out of, or run through, it can lead to an ambush, or at least an escape by the person fleeing.

Stay safe out there.

Bunkermeister said...

Generally speaking a short foot pursuit down the sidewalk where the officer never loses sight of the suspect are not that dangerous. Running through back yards in the dark is not as safe.