POLICE Magazine

JUL 2017

Magazine for police and law enforcement

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16 POLICE JULY 2017 B ack in 2014, USA TODAY did an analysis of federal crash data involving police pursuits between 1979 and 2013. e data showed at least 11,506 people, including 6,300 flee- ing suspects, were killed in police chases; that was an aver- age of 329 a year — nearly one person a day. e reporters also found that more than 5,000 bystanders and passengers had been killed and tens of thousands more were injured. Most bystanders were killed in their own cars, by a fleeing driver. e immediate takeaway from this analysis is police pur- suits are serious business and should be treated with rever- ence. ough there are many aspects of a pursuit that need dissecting, the one that consistently falls short is communi- cation. Let's be honest, radio procedure during emergency traffic tends to leave a lot to be desired. RADIO DISCIPLINE Pursuits tend to start the same way. e suspect fails to obey a lawful command and flees the scene in order to es- cape the situation. Typically, the initial radio traffic with dispatch goes very well. All it takes is a quick transmission stating they're not stopping or they just sped off to get the ball rolling. Once that's done, however, it seems that every- one else in the world wants to make their presence known. Backup officers attempt to respond between those who are working, those working off-duty jobs that are close by, and sometimes even those who are off-duty but in the area. at's just the first wave. e second wave consists of supervisors. ese include first and second line supervisors along with the occasional command staff officer. None of them are doing anything malicious but if not careful, end up im- peding the flow of communication. e truth is, everyone not directly in- volved in the pursuit (actual or by policy) needs to stay off the primary channel. e key to effective communication during a pursuit is having radio disci- pline. e only three people that need to be talking on the primary channel (where the pursuit is unfolding) are the officer involved in the pursuit, the pur- suit supervisor, and dispatch. If you don't limit your radio traffic to those three, critical information will be delayed as officers step all over each other on the radio. If everyone trying to talk on the radio is not bad enough, there are also sometimes officers who aren't paying attention to their radios. It's easy to tell when that hap- pens because they come on the channel to advise something trivial that has noth- ing to do with the pursuit, like telling the Everybody involved in a pursuit needs to know their roles, and everyone not involved needs to stay off the primary radio channel. PHOTO: GETTY IMAGES HOW TO COMMUNICATE DURING A PURSUIT How To... AMAURY MURGADO

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