POLICE Magazine

JUL 2017

Magazine for police and law enforcement

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18 POLICE JULY 2017 world they are checking out for lunch. Dispatch then must correct them by saying there is emergency traffic on the radio. is creates a string of unnecessary radio traffic. Instead of taking up valuable air time, the responding units, other su- pervisors, or command staff alike, need to do a lot of listening so they know where to go and cover what needs to be done. Ideally, once emergency traffic is called for, only those that are involved in the pursuit stay on the primary channel. e others move to a preselected ad- ministrative channel. Everyone else can now blow up the administrative channel without fear of interfering with the pursuit. OFFICER RESPONSIBILITIES If you initiated the pursuit, your com- munications responsibilities are quite simple; call it out as you go and keep people informed. All traffic stops starts with TLC (tag, location, and color of vehicle). You should also try to include the number of occupants. is basic information is very impor- tant to responding units. If the stop goes south, at least your backup has a place to start looking. In addition to officer safety issues, supervisors want answers to policy questions. For them to decide if they will let the pursuit go on, they need to know what crimes are involved (rea- son for pursuit), your speed, and the suspect's driving pattern. Since you know these policy-type questions are coming, try to answer them before they ask you. at way you stay in con- trol of the radio and focused on what you need to be doing. SUPERVISOR RESPONSIBILITIES As the pursuit supervisor, you have three considerations: officer safety, citizen safe- ty, and following policy and procedure. Your air time will be spent asking ques- tions or giving instructions in one of those three areas. If you must get on the radio, try to speak right after your officer gives out an update. at way you can be sure they are done with their transmission and your chances of interrupting are minimal. Make use of the administrative channel as well. BACKUP OFFICER RESPONSIBILITIES Training becomes an important factor, as responding units should know what to do without being asked. Policy will tell you how many officers can join the pursuit. e last thing anyone ever wants to see is another O.J. Simpson pursuit where he had over a dozen police cars behind him, from several agencies. If you are not in- volved directly with the pursuit, then you are involved in making it safer by do- ing things like blocking intersections. Radio traffic for backup officers who are directly involved is easy; there is none, unless policy tells you to do something specific or the of- ficer conducting the pursuit tells you to do something. If you are not directly involved, you are taking in- structions from a senior officer or an- other supervisor on the administra- tive channel. TRAINING IS KEY My experience shows that radio dis- cipline is very hard to keep, especially during pursuits. ere are two things you need to overcome communica- tion problems during a pursuit: train- ing and strong supervision. How you train is how you perform so if you nev- er train on radio discipline, how can you be surprised when there is none? ere is an ebb and flow to a pur- suit. Supervisors need to learn to have patience and practice their own form of radio discipline. If the officer in- volved is not giving out needed infor- mation, then you have no choice but to get on the radio. Officers do things or keep from doing things based on what their super visors allow. If you want good communica- tions during a pursuit, then you must demand it. Nothing happens in a vacu- um. If you don't take control of the radio during emergency traffic, someone else will. Amaury Murgado retired a senior lieuten- ant from the Osceola County (FL) Sheriff's Office with over 29 years of experience. He also retired from the Army Reserve as a master sergeant. He holds a master's of po- litical science degree from the University of Central Florida. e last thing you want to do is flood the pursuit channel with unnecessary traf- fic. ere is a healthy balance of radio talk that can be achieved if everyone works together. For example, I have been involved in situations where I couldn't get on the radio as pursuit supervisor because some com- mand staff person, not anywhere near the scene, started playing 50 questions. I have How To had to politely cut them off to keep the radio channel open. In other instances, I had to go so far as to remind them I was the pursuit commander and that unless they wanted to take over (the responsibil- ity), to stay off my channel. Obviously, that is said in as a polite manner as possible. It's amazing how well that works. I have found that commanders who like to hear themselves speak are heav y on flexing their muscle but shy on accept- ing responsibility. However, I recommend you use that tactic as a last resort because you will be called upon to defend your ac- tions later. If you're right, the tape of radio traffic will speak for you. PHOTOS: GETTY IMAGES

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