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4 key considerations for surviving foot pursuits

When the bad guys run, the cops give chase but all too often, officers are lured into jeopardy and sometimes don’t realize it until it is too late


It is a cop’s job to catch bad guys. Therefore, when the bad guys run, the cops give chase. Unfortunately, all too often, officers are lured into jeopardy and sometimes don’t realize it until it is too late. Take a look at some of the headlines over the last couple of years:

Philadelphia Officer Killed in Foot Pursuit
CA Officer Shot and Killed during Foot Pursuit
PA K-9 Officer Shot and Killed during Foot Pursuit

In January 2011, my department lost one of our finest officers (Officer Larry Nehasil) while involved in a foot pursuit of a home invasion suspect who had stolen a 45 caliber handgun from a residence and used it against Officer Nehasil as he caught up to him.

Foot pursuits are inherently dangerous and should be guided by tactics rather than our impulse to catch the bad guys. Often, as with vehicle pursuits, we let our emotions take over and guide our actions. Maybe it is our character, or sense of duty, or that we are just plain curious when a suspect decides to flee from us. Our predator instinct kicks in and we see the suspects as the prey or quarry to be over-taken and subdued. We must rethink our traditional responses and find a way to capture fleeing suspects in a manner that affords us greater opportunities to gain tactical advantages over those we seek to apprehend.

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