POLICE Magazine

JAN 2019

Magazine for police and law enforcement

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P O L I C E M AG .C O M 61 ately after having been running—at a full sprint for a lengthy period of time?" As a civilian police writer, I've been incredibly fortunate to be invited to par- ticipate in many, many hours of law en- forcement firearms training in the past decade or so. In only one instance was such a scenario run—no pun intended. Of course, this is probably due to safe- ty concerns—running with a firearm in your hand significantly increases the possibility of a negligent discharge. Further, it's likely that some agencies have policies prohibiting the discharge of a firearm while running. Nonethe- less, for those departments that do not have such limitations, this is an issue to take into consideration. 5. "Is this pursuit even worth the effort? Related somewhat to question three in this list, is the person I'm think- ing of chasing wanted for a serious fel- ony or a petty crime that doesn't rise to the level of risking my life?" Resist the temptation to take off like a greyhound after the mechanical rab- bit at the old-time dog track just for the sake of doing so. It's very, very tempting to run after a subject "just because," but the payoff may not be worth the invest- ment. Be strategic in the application of your tactics. Too many officers have been injured or killed over "contempt of cop" on the part of a fleeing subject. PARTING THOUGHTS While empirical data doesn't exist—at least to my knowledge—on lost produc- tivity due to injuries sustained during foot pursuits, anecdotal evidence sug- gests that medical leave following such incidents is significant enough to give police trainers and command staff cause for some deeper thought into the matter. It makes sense for police trainers and command staff alike to examine how to mitigate potential injury to offi- cers—as well as preventable line-of-du- ty deaths—resulting from foot pursuits. Oh, and like that officer in Chicago whose vest stopped a bullet, please wear your body armor every shift. It could well save your life. Doug Wyllie is contributing web editor for POLICE. during the initial portion of the pursuit that might reveal an intention to turn and attack me?" It's important to keep in mind what the subject did immediately before he or she turned and ran. ings like blading of the feet into a fighting stance, clench- ing of the fists, gnashing of the teeth, making target glances to your duty belt, and other signals prior to a foot pursuit should put you on notice that once the chase ends, the fight may have only just begun. 3. "Do I know the subject? If so, do I know them to regularly carry weapons? Can I make a radio call about the con- tact and look to apprehend the individ- ual at a later date and time—when I can respond in greater number and with the element of surprise?" Of course, if the person running from you is known to be armed and poten- tially dangerous to others in his or her path, Tennessee v. Garner kicks in and a pursuing officer may legally resort to deadly force—in lieu of chasing the suspect—if the officer "has probable cause to believe that the suspect poses a significant threat of death or serious physical injury to the officer or others." In such instances, the United States Su- preme Court has ruled quite clearly that deadly force is legally justified. 4. "Have I trained to discharge my firearm while running—or immedi- Few officers have trained to fire a handgun while running after a suspect. Make sure you know how it will affect your aim. PHOTO: GETTY IMAGES

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