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October 04, 2011
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Video: How off-duty mentality affected heroic robbery response

Deputy Frank Pobjecky was off duty when four suspects attempted to rob a pizza restaurant Saturday night

By PoliceOne Staff

ROCKFORD, Ill. — Although a deputy is always a police officer, being off duty can change how he or she reacts to an incident.

Deputy Frank Pobjecky was not officially on the clock when four suspects tried to rob a Marie's Pizza restaurant on Saturday night. Pobjecky didn't have his department-issued weapon at the time, but when one suspect pointed a gun at him, his instincts kicked in.

Officers who are off the clock are without backup, Sheriff Richard Meyers told WREX, and therefore less in control of how those around them will react, but in a situation like Pobjecky's, they work with what they're given.

"Sometimes you are forced to take a risk that you normally wouldn't take because of what's unfolding in front of you," Meyers said.

After a struggle, Pobjecky eventually gained control of a handgun tucked into an employee's waistband and used it to shoot all four suspects. One died at the scene. 

Off duty incidents can be "very hectic and very chaotic and very violent at times," Meyers said. "That's what our officer was faced with."

Rockford Police are investigating the shooting, but Meyers said he thinks Pobjecky acted the way he should.

"You use whatever means possible," he said. "It's survival."

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