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Home  >  Topics  >  Off Duty

January 28, 2010

Ark. men followed, shot at officer after his shift

The three men followed Officer Dayton Leavitt when he left work in his personal vehicle

By Dave Hughes
Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

FORT SMITH, Ark. — Police say three people followed a Fort Smith police officer in a vehicle after his shift ended early Wednesday, and one of them shot at him.

The officer wasn't hit, according to a news release.

Expert Perspective

Here are seven things to consider to help prevent an off-duty incident:

1. Be aware that the station parking lot can be a “watched” zone. It’s common and understandable for officers to call an impromptu bull session in the station lot next to their private vehicles after a shift. It seems like—and for the most part is—a safe location. However, remember that someone bent on IDing your personal car and determining when exactly you enter and leave the lot could be watching from the outside.

2. Watch your back. When you’re driving home or anywhere else off duty, particularly right after a shift, scan your mirrors and keep an eye out for any vehicle that appears to be following you.

3. Get into civilian clothes. If you’re driving home in your personal car, get out of the uniform.

4. Don’t be predictable. Don’t make it easy for someone bent on confronting you off duty to get a fix on your timing

5. Look around when you come in and out of your house.

6. Engage your trusted neighbors. It’s pretty typical for at least a couple of neighbors to know you’re a cop. Assuming they’re trusted, ask them to let you know if they see anything out of the ordinary going on when you’re not around or when you’re not looking.

7. Get your family involved. This is for their sake and yours. If you’re together as a family, let them know that they should alert you to anything they notice as well – like a car that drove by and paid a suspiciously high amount of attention to your car.

Read more: 7 tips for better off-duty awareness

Full story: Ark. men followed, shot at officer after his shift

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