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Armed Subject Hides from Officers during Foot Pursuit

Event Summary

 

Two armed suspects robbed an individual and stole the victim’s vehicle. A patrol officer located the vehicle being driven on a city roadway and attempted to conduct a traffic stop. The driver refused to stop, and a vehicle pursuit ensued. Two patrol cars, a K-9 unit, and a helicopter pursued the vehicle for 20 minutes. The vehicle pursuit ended in a rural area, and the suspects fled on foot in different directions. The sun had set during the pursuit, so the foot pursuit occurred in darkness.

The K9 officer pursued the driver on foot and quickly apprehended him. The helicopter directed me and a third officer towards where the helicopter had lost visual with the fleeing passenger. I deployed with my shotgun. We ran to the area where the passenger was last seen – a small house with a carport and shed. I took a covered position and visually scanned the area. We moved deliberately to look in the carport that was cluttered with all sorts of stuff. Failing to locate the suspect, I again took a covered position behind a tree and continued to scan the environment. The other officer holstered his weapon and stood next to the carport. We were soon joined by the K9 officer and his dog. The K9 officer walked up to the other officer and asked where the suspect was last seen so he could start tracking. Suddenly, the dog jumped into a bush 6 feet from the chatting officers and took the hiding suspect by the leg. The suspect was quickly apprehended.

 

Lessons Learned

 
  • When contact with a suspect is likely, use high-risk tactics, even if no suspect is located after an initial search.
  • Officers should take covered positions when stopped, move together, and provide over-watch for each other’s movement across open areas or when near places a suspect could be hiding (i.e., concealed positions).
  • When there is reason to believe a suspect is armed with a firearm, deploy with your most effective long gun to enhance officers’ ability to engage a suspect effectively and at greater distances.
  • Officers should consider withdrawing from an area, while ensuring a perimeter is in place, to regroup and discuss a plan to continue a high-risk search for an armed suspect, versus remaining in a location where a suspect could be hiding and waiting to ambush.
Changes as a result of that experience (what would you do differently?):

I would direct the officer to take and maintain cover while deploying with his rifle. Also, I would have told him to move with me, instead of independently.

 
Full Report

Armed Subject Hides from Officers during Foot Pursuit

 

 

Employer Information
 

Type of law enforcement agency: Police Department – City, Town, Village

 

Involved Person Info
 

Role: Sworn Officer

Years of experience in law enforcement: More than 3, but less than 5

 

Incident Information
 

Type of call / Reason for response: Robbery – Person

Incident Initiated by: Radio call response

Date: May 2011

Please classify this incident (Check all that apply): Almost resulted in serious injury or death

How many officers were on the scene at the time of the near miss or incident? 3

Describe your initial assessment or impression of the call or scene:

Two armed robbery suspects had stolen a car and were fleeing to avoid capture.

Incident Summary:

Two armed suspects robbed an individual and stole the victim’s vehicle. A patrol officer located the vehicle being driven on a city roadway and attempted to conduct a traffic stop. The driver refused to stop, and a vehicle pursuit ensued. Two patrol cars, a K-9 unit, and a helicopter pursued the vehicle for 20 minutes. The vehicle pursuit ended in a rural area, and the suspects fled on foot in different directions. The sun had set during the pursuit, so the foot pursuit occurred in darkness.

The K9 officer pursued the driver on foot and quickly apprehended him. The helicopter directed me and a third officer towards where the helicopter had lost visual with the fleeing passenger. I deployed with my shotgun. We ran to the area where the passenger was last seen – a small house with a carport and shed. I took a covered position and visually scanned the area. We moved deliberately to look in the carport that was cluttered with all sorts of stuff. Failing to locate the suspect, I again took a covered position behind a tree and continued to scan the environment. The other officer holstered his weapon and stood next to the carport. We were soon joined by the K9 officer and his dog. The K9 officer walked up to the other officer and asked where the suspect was last seen so he could start tracking. Suddenly, the dog jumped into a bush 6 feet from the chatting officers and took the hiding suspect by the leg. The suspect was quickly apprehended.

Describe how the incident escalated/risk increased:

By failing to use high-risk tactics, officers were not on guard and were not taking advantage of cover when they stopped to discuss their plan to track and locate the suspect.

 

Location Information
 

What type of location was this? Residence

What were the environmental conditions at this location? Outdoor – Nighttime (Dark)

 

Subject Information
 

Did dispatch inform the involved person of any criminal/warrant/other information about the subject(s)?

Yes. The subjects were wanted for armed robbery.

Did the involved person encounter a subject(s)? Yes – two subjects.

 

Lessons Learned
 

Check all risks involved in this incident:

  • Environmental
  • No cover/concealment at scene
  • Multiple subjects

Please describe what type of accident or incident was averted:

An ambush from an armed suspect concealed 6 feet away from two exposed officers.

What were the contributing factors that almost led to or did lead to serious injury or death?

  • Self-discipline
  • Complacency
  • Human Error
  • Scene Size-up/Assessment
  • Decision-Making

Describe the lessons learned:

  • When contact with a suspect is likely, use high-risk tactics, even if no suspect is located after an initial search.
  • Officers should take covered positions when stopped, move together, and provide over-watch for each other’s movement across open areas or when near places a suspect could be hiding (i.e., concealed positions).
  • When there is reason to believe a suspect is armed with a firearm, deploy with your most effective long gun to enhance officers’ ability to engage a suspect effectively and at greater distances.
  • Officers should consider withdrawing from an area, while ensuring a perimeter is in place, to regroup and discuss a plan to continue a high-risk search for an armed suspect, versus remaining in a location where a suspect could be hiding and waiting to ambush.

Changes as a result of that experience (what would you do differently?):

I would direct the officer to take and maintain cover while deploying with his rifle. Also, I would have told him to move with me, instead of independently.



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