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.