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December 24, 2009
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Man steals ambulance at N.H. hospital; officers use TASER to end incident

By Matthew Spolar
Concord Monitor

LOUDON, N.H. — A man stole an ambulance outside Lakes Region General Hospital in Laconia yesterday and drove off before the Loudon police arrested him by using a TASER in the middle of Route 106.

Stephen Cummings Jr., 26, faces felony charges of reckless conduct and receiving stolen property after jumping into the ambulance as he left the hospital, the police said. The ambulance was running in the emergency room parking lot as two employees were inside fetching a patient to transfer to a local nursing home, authorities said.

Expert Perspective

There can be a temptation to let your guard down in a hospital emergency room, but if you bring a suspect in for treatment and find yourself falling prey to relaxed tactical thinking, keep these things in mind:

Availability and accessibility of weapons: What you should notice are loads of readily available things that can be used as improvised weapons; scalpels, needles, glass containers, potentially caustic liquids, IV poles and other skewering implements, etc. Don’t think that just because a “patient” is unarmed when you bring him in he’ll stay that way.

Make sure doctors and nurses aren’t the only ones monitoring your “patient.” It’s probably safe to say that most hospital personnel aren’t thoroughly (if at all) trained in weapons awareness, threat assessment, subject control, defensive tactics, etc. Be sure you’re watching closely for signs that things are about to get combative.

Keep an eye on who’s coming and going: If you’re dealing with a gang member — particularly one who’s been targeted by rival gang members — don’t think that the battle is over just because you’re in the hospital.

Security trumps sympathy: Just because an injured suspect may appear harmless, vulnerable and maybe even completely helpless doesn’t mean that he is. If you find yourself tempted to skip taking appropriate security measures — like cuffing — in the interest of being nice, don’t. Remember the lessons learned by those officers who lost their lives after deciding to loosen cuffs, cuff in the front and even remove cuffs from their transports in the interest of comfort and kindness. Never let your guard down. Never.

Read more: Tips for dealing with incidents and suspects in hospitals

Full story: Man steals ambulance at N.H. hospital; officers use TASER to end incident

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