How many times have we heard the retelling of a potentially deadly incident begin with the phrase, “This started out as a simple traffic infraction...”
Such is the case with recently released dash cam video footage from Dyersville (Iowa) in which a brief pursuit ended with the violator in a black Dodge pickup hitting reverse at an intersection, ramming the squad car (and disabling it), and driving off.
Thankfully, the officer in the car — Dan Recker — was unhurt. Further, Iowa State Patrol officers eventually “found the truck, and have identified a suspect as a possible driver,” according to a report by KCRG-TV.
The pursuit, which was at low speed over surface streets, was in no way unique. This type of incident happens all day, every day, across the United States. Consider bringing this video — and the following questions — up at your next roll call.
Roll-Call Video Review
Officer Recker was in single-officer squad. For the purposes of our review, let’s have the mindset that he also had no backup available (the report doesn’t indicate one way or the other whether he had backup nearby).
• Have you recently reviewed agency pursuit policy, specifically with regard to guidance on “surface/neighborhood street” pursuits?
• Does your agency run slick-top, unmarked cars such as the one Officer Recker was driving, and if so, do you account for that “low-visibility” in the use of lights and sirens?
• Did you see any indicators the violator might act erratically — even dangerously? If yes, what were they? If no, what does that mean?
• Did you note the weather conditions and the presence of pedestrians in the video? Would they play a part in your decision-making process?
• Finally, if you’re SOS/NBA like Officer Recker was that day (again, assuming no backup was available), do you continually do “when/then” drills while on patrol?
Add your own questions to this list, and talk about incidents such as this one.