Foot pursuits have been in the news out in the western part the country, where officers have been injured or killed in the line of duty while pursuing on foot fleeing suspects. Remember we had a recent situation this past year in Framingham Massachusetts where an officer was shot pursuing suspect on foot. This has brought up the question on policies and procedures governing them. Here is my two cents on this very important topic..
Foot pursuits are inherently dangerous and many officers have been killed in foot pursuits. They unfold quickly and often times are used to lure an officer to pursue while the pursued lays in ambush to attack when an officer corners a building or in more rural environments enters the woods in an attempt to apprehend. I do not believe foot pursuit policies are prevalent in law enforcement nor are they needed. What is needed is the development of frontline police personnel who use a strategic and tactical mindset and their ability to apply what they know in the field. Cops need to understand that a “false sense of urgency” and “habit” of just pursuing a subject who may be armed or seeking more of an advantage that just avoiding apprehension, can be tactically unsound and dangerous. Thinking should drive pursuits not emotion! Cops must always be aware, observe and orient to their surroundings make good sound decisions and take action to gain the proper position and advantage to close down escape routes, narrow their search area and then through their tactical positioning, insight and innovation, leverage the situation and apprehend safely the subject. Training, awareness, collaborative efforts and good sound decision making are the key to pursuing and apprehending fleeing subjects, not some damn policy that takes initiative and innovation away. Trained! Walking, Talking, Thinking and Adapting Cops are critical to ending pursuits and apprehending the wanted safely.