PostHeaderIcon Foot Pursuits: Follow The Knob…say WHAT?

“I’ve got a vehicle stopped at 5th and Mockingbird Lane. Driver just tossed something from the window. Request back up… He’s running! I’ve got a runner!” Suddenly, the radio goes silent, but everyone knows exactly what’s going on. They’ve all been there and done that.

The patrol officer was in the midst of a traffic stop when the driver decided to abandon his car and head for the hills, or wherever it is they think they can go to avoid an arrest. So, Officer I. M. Fast (Well, that’s what’s on his name tag) shoved the shift into park and took off after the wiry, tennis shoe-clad thug. For the record, runners (rabbits, foot-bailers, the guys with happy feet, etc.) are always young, thin, in shape, and wearing tennis shoes. It’s never an easy-to-catch old fat guy in HushPuppies.

A foot pursuit typically begins in an instant. A flash. A blink of an eye. Faster than you can say “diddly-squat.” There’s no time to think things through. No time to plan. No time to run through the mental checklist. No time to remind yourself to do important things, like tell someone which direction you’re heading. Or even to think about routine things, like grabbing your portable radio from the charger. Yep, after twenty strides into total darkness the officer will also remember the flashlight he left lying on the passenger seat next to…dammit, he left his cellphone lying there, too! Therefore, besides the obvious, officers often find themselves alone in what can be a very dangerous situation. Why?

– Bad guys tend to bail out in familiar territory, meaning they know where they’re going, and they often have friends in the area—friends who’ll protect their buddies at all costs, even if that means hurting or killing a cop.

– Unless the officer is in great physical shape (how many older cops have you seen who could win a marathon?) he/she’ll quickly become winded, possibly after only a couple of blocks. Sure, adrenaline will take you a few steps beyond your normal capacity, but not too much further. What that translates into is a cop who’s sucking wind like an antique church organ when he does finally catch the suspect. Believe me, it’s extremely difficult to restrain and cuff someone when you can’t breathe.

– The officer is wearing a ton of gear and sometimes those goofy, shiny shoes. And let’s not forget those spiffy bus driver hats. Think about it…could you run wearing all that? Why would you even want to run while wearing those cool duds?

So what should officers consider before taking the first step in pursuit of a runner?

– Why did the guy run? Is he wanted? Is he dangerous?

– Where are we? Is the area dangerous? What’s around me? Who’s around me? WHY are THEY suddenly around me?

– How far away is backup? Is there backup?

– Did I call for backup?

– What did the guy do? Is it even worth the chase?

– Am I healthy enough to do this?

– What’s around the next corner? Who’s around the next corner?

– What am I going to do with the guy when I catch him? Will I be able to manhandle him all the way back to my patrol car?

– Why not call a canine unit and wait for them to arrive?

Even though any pursuit, foot or vehicle, can be unpredictable, there are are few things that are a bit predictable. Like…

A crook who bolts through a doorway will most likely turn to the doorknob side of the door—doorknob’s on the left side of the door, the suspect headed left. Doorknob on the right, suspect ran to the right. Therefore, an open door and no suspect… Turn toward the knob and set your feet in motion. After, of course, making sure the bad guy isn’t hiding beside the door waiting for you to poke your head through the opening.

Most fleeing suspects, when not running in a straight line, will make one left turn and then all right turns thereafter, if not all right turns. Therefore, when the officer finally reaches a dead end and needs to pick a direction, a right turn will probably be the correct choice.

The cool part of the right-turn habit is that IF the suspect is forced to make several left turns, his only option, then he’ll soon stop to hide. Running counterclockwise is not natural to them. And…those same suspects are more apt to hide on the right side of a roadway (in the bushes, a ditch, the woods, etc.).

Wait, it gets better. If two suspects bail on you and they run in the same direction, the chase won’t be a long one. Two guys almost always stop to hide before they get very far. So, if you catch one guy behind a stack of pallets, stay alert because his partner is probably laying low inside the nearby dumpster, under the rotten cabbage.

Oh, if the driver runs and the passenger remains in the car, forget the chase. Go for the guy in the car. He’ll snitch. Besides, you’ve got the idiot’s vehicle.

– Discarded evidence? They almost always toss it on the right-hand side of the road, path, sidewalk, alley, train tracks, etc.

Lastly, lay off the doughnuts and hit the treadmill. Or, send the rookie after the guy. You can always follow along in your patrol car…

PostHeaderIcon Castle: At Close Range – A Good Cop/Bad Cop Review

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“A lot of guys, when they retire, they just…drift.” ~ Detective Kevin Ryan

New Picture (10)

Melanie Atkins

I enjoyed this Ryan-centric episode and thought Seamus Dever did a fabulous job. Kudos to him. Parts of the show raced by more like an action movie than a TV show, and those kudos go to the director and the writers, even though I guessed right away that Ryan’s brother-in-law was up to no good. I’d pegged him as the murderer and was glad that didn’t turn out to be the case.

Kate and Rick only played minor parts in this one, so I really don’t have too much to blog about. I’ll leave the case notes Lee and zero in on the big revelation they gave us in the waning minutes of the episode: the disclosure that Kate is apparently studying for the captain’s exam. I doubt many people were too surprised, because her professional restiveness drove much of the action in last week’s episode and affected her connection with the visiting inspector from Hong Kong.

Kate’s decision certainly didn’t surprise me. Sure, becoming a captain would take her out of the field, something the Kate Beckett of three seasons ago would never have wanted, but now things have changed. Moving up the ladder would not only give her more freedom and better office hours, but would also provide more of a buffer between her and the bad guys, making it a better career choice should she and Rick decide have a baby. She doesn’t want to have a child and then get killed like her mother did. Methinks Kate definitely has the idea of a child in mind, but only time will tell if I’m right.

Only five more episodes of Castle this season… and possibly the series. Sigh. Still no word on contract negotiations. I’m keeping my ear to the ground and will let you know if I learn anything about the show’s possible renewal or the cast’s disinclination to re-sign.

The promos for next week’s show made me laugh, so hopefully it’s a funny one. I’m looking forward to some classic Castle.

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Lee Lofland

I agree with Melanie. I thought Seamus played his part extremely well. Not only did he properly represent a police detective, he displayed the sometimes extreme raw emotion that comes with the job. It’s a side of police work the public rarely sees, so for a non-cop actor to deliver a performance of this caliber is, well, nothing short excellent.

I wonder, though, if this episode is a preview of sorts for a spinoff? After all, Dever has been hitting social media pretty hard lately. Hmm…

Hey, did you know that Seamus Dever is cousin to a well-known mystery writer, a writer who’s attended the Writers’ Police Academy a few times?

Anyway, back to Ryan and his role. He was working a private security detail, which many cops do to earn extra money, when a shooting occurred. Unfortunately, the person he was protecting was wounded and the woman standing next to him was killed.

I once taught executive bodyguard training and, believe me, the stakes can be pretty high. It’s not a simple job for simple people. In other words, there’s more to the job than being 7-feet-tall and 350 lbs. So, speaking from years of experience, I also thought Dever handled himself well in this part-time role.

A failed assignment can be extremely devastating for anyone whose duty is to protect someone from harm. Somehow Dever managed to get that across to his audience without speaking a word. His eyes told the entire story in a single scene.

Okay, enough goo-goo ga-ga fawning over Seamus Dever. Let’s delve into the rest of the show.

Everyone knows I’m not a fan of Castle when the writers go for “serious.” They just don’t do it well at all. However, this week had it’s good moments. And, of course, it had the typical Castle-esque mistakes. For example, when Ryan was in the alley preparing to arrest his brother-in-law. He pulled out his pistol and…what did he do? Yep, he racked the slide. NO!!!!!! Cops carry a round already loaded into the chamber. To rack the slide at this point would eject a round out onto the ground. He’d be a “bullet shy of a full magazine,” which is a great description of the writer who pens this sort of thing.

We all knew that Chambers was not the killer because he was the first red herring to plop his butt into the interrogation hot seat. So it was a waste of time for him to utter even a single word. Besides, it was during the limo ride when it became apparent that the politician’s wife would pop a cap into the female assistant. You caught that “clue”, yes? But, as usual, she, too, was merely a typical Castle red herring via the standard boilerplate script.

Using laser trajectory or stringing to determine where the shooter stood when firing the shot would have been a routine act in a case such as this one. Not something unusual or out of the box as they made it appear in the show.

Gates ordered someone to “put out an APB” again this week. These folks switch between APB and BOLO about as often as Kayne West sticks his foot in his mouth. It’s BOLO (Be On The Lookout), unless you’re watching Dragnet reruns, because that’s the era when APB (All Points Bulletin) was popular.

All-in-all, I enjoyed this episode. And to Seamus Dever, Good job!

Oh, would somebody please get Tory a stool. It wears me out seeing her stand throughout an entire episode.

 

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