LEO Near Miss: Officers nearly ambushed in construction site

Complacency combined with assumptions can prove dangerous for officers

Law Enforcement Officer (LEO) Near Miss is a voluntary, non-disciplinary officer safety initiative that allows law enforcement personnel to read about and anonymously share stories of close calls or “near misses,” which provide lessons learned that can protect fellow officers in similar situations.

Event Summary

Another patrol officer got a call for a suspicious vehicle in a construction site at the beginning of our midnight shift. Staff at a restaurant connected to the site thought it was odd the vehicle was there so late as there was no construction going on. As my co-worker started heading to this call in his zone, I decided it sounded suspicious enough that I would respond with him. We are a smaller department in a 50-square-mile town so we often handle calls alone.

As we arrived, our attention was immediately drawn to the vehicle in question. We approached the vehicle and cleared it, not noticing anything out of the ordinary. That is when I noticed movement out of the corner of my eye. By the time I got my head around and looked in that direction, I didn’t see anything. Although I only caught a glimpse in my peripheral, I thought I saw a person looking at us before walking behind a dumpster, which I was now looking at. I told my partner and we started walking that way.

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