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Considerations and tactics for foot pursuit

Whether to start, continue or terminate a foot pursuit can be a major decision. A lot of factors come into play, obviously. Are you alone? What is the offense? Is the person supposed to be armed? Is the weapon a firearm? Am I physically willing and able to get into a fight with this person if he or she decides to fight instead of running? What direction am I going? Where should assisting units go?

Night foot pursuits raise the risk even more: unseen yard decorations and furniture, steep slopes and landscaping, drop-offs and so on. Running with your weapon drawn and a flashlight in your other hand has its own inherent hazards, not to mention making it difficult to transmit on your portable radio with updates. Try to illuminate the area just behind the subject’s feet instead of shining your light directly on his or her back. This allows you to continue to see the person without illuminating the area in front of him or her, thus increasing the chances the suspect will run into obstacles he or she can’t see in the dark.

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