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  • Weird Pursuits

    I am sure everybody that has a couple of years service under the belt has some stories about weird or out of the normal pursuits or "Chases" as we in South Africa like to call it.
    How about sharing some of your stories?

  • #2
    Sure. I once had a pursuit in the local mall. The subject attempted to cross into a "forbidden zone" (out of my sight) and I immediately gave chase. I radioed (called my wife) for emergency backup. Luckily for me, another unit outside of my jurisdiction (a bystander) was able to assist and took the lead. We effectively set up a perimeter, and boxed the subject into a corner. Myself & my backup gave verbal commands, but to no avail. We were left with no other alternative but to go hands on. Using impact weapons such as my belt and some hand to hand training.....We were able to get my son back into his stroller. But that was years ago, as he is now 7.

    A man should never be ashamed to own that he has been in the wrong, which is but saying... that he is wiser today than yesterday. Jonathan Swift 1667-1745

    It's only a conspiracy when your party is not in power.

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    • #3
      Back in 1976, I was a newly minted sergeant working graveyard in the Los Angeles area. One night I was doing some paperwork in the station when I heard on the scanner that Ontario PD was in pursuit, westbound on the Santa Monica freeway, headed for downtown Los Angeles. Ontario was over in the next county and in order to get to downtown Los Angeles, they would have had to pass through multiple cities. Back then, there were no real rules for pursuits. If one came through your town, everyone joined in and at the end, it was not unusual for there to be 40 or 50 police cars from a couple dozen police departments on the scene (and a good time was had by all). I thought about heading out into the field and joining in, but back then, when it came to pursuits, LAPD tended to be like Kamikazes when one came into their jurisdictions (compliment intended here guys) so I figured it would be all over before I got out of the parking lot.

      As I listened to the scanner, the pursuit continued through downtown unscathed (much to my amazement) all the way to Santa Monica, where it turned north on Pacific Coast Highway, through Pacific Palisades and Malibu, picking up units all the way. At this point there were so many patrol cars in the chase that LAPD supervisors were screaming for all of their units to drop out. The mountains of Malibu cut off all further communications, but an hour later, the LAPD helicopter climbed to 5,000 feet so they could broadcast back that the suspect was in custody in the city of Oxnard (in Ventura county). In total, the pursuit traversed 120 miles through three counties, which was a record for those days.

      I didn't think too much of the matter until two days later when a letter to the editor, criticizing the pursuit, appeared in the Los Angeles Times. It was written, of all people, by the Chief of Police of Oxnard. It seems that around 250 police cars from outside jurisdictions piled into his town, all of them out of fuel and wanting to use his gas pumps (back then, patrol cars did not carry credit cards). In addition, Pacific Coast Highway from Malibu to Oxnard (over two counties) was littered with police cars that were either out of gas or had blown engines. All this for a suspect who had pumped gas into his car back in Ontario and simply driven away without paying for it.
      Going too far is half the pleasure of not getting anywhere

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      • #4
        A co-worker attempted a stop for a minor traffic infraction. He activated his lights...the vehicle failed to stop. He activated his siren...the vehicle continued for several hundred feet before stopping. He got out of his unit and approached the vehicle. The driver drove off at a slow speed. Bewildered, he threw his hands up in amazement (the in-car video is priceless ). He returns to his car and engages in a slow-speed pursuit. This process of the vehicle stopping, him exiting his car behind the vehicle, and the vehicle driving off continues several more times. Finally, another car joins in the fun and blocks the vehicle off.

        It turns out the driver of the vehicle was from an Asian country (I can't remember which one). The driver explained that in her country, police officers pull IN FRONT OF traffic violators when initiating traffic stops. In her confusion, she drove off when the officer stopped behind her. It was a weird pseudo-pursuit, and quite funny in retrospect.
        Those who stand for nothing often fall for anything.

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        • #5
          The stroller Bandit reply

          Originally posted by LeanG View Post
          Sure. I once had a pursuit in the local mall. The subject attempted to cross into a "forbidden zone" (out of my sight) and I immediately gave chase. I radioed (called my wife) for emergency backup. Luckily for me, another unit outside of my jurisdiction (a bystander) was able to assist and took the lead. We effectively set up a perimeter, and boxed the subject into a corner. Myself & my backup gave verbal commands, but to no avail. We were left with no other alternative but to go hands on. Using impact weapons such as my belt and some hand to hand training.....We were able to get my son back into his stroller. But that was years ago, as he is now 7.
          The average brain is submersed in a sugar water solution for nourishment, yours however, I am sure is pickled in Maple syrup. Sharp! You had me going there.

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          • #6
            The Bundu Bash

            Stationed in a small town in the Eastern Cape province of South Africa, our area of jurisdiction also services a large rural area with gravel roads.
            About a month ago, I did a routine traffic stop and wanted to see if the driver of this vehicle were in possession of a valid professional driving permit.
            Due to the bad conditions of these roads, the usual taxi and bus services do not drive on these roads, and therefore a new industry sprang up. The light delivery vehicle taxi service.
            We as law enforcement officers do not quite agree with this unsafe method of transporting passengers, but have to turn a blind eye under political pressure from the local government.
            Never the less, I attempted to stop this driver, but he just went off road and the chase was on. After a good 10 minutes of truly bundu bashing, and off road driving, dodging ditches and holes, the driver of the vehicle stopped and jumped out. The pursuit continued on foot for about 5 minutes, he was arrested and charged with reckless driving, and driving without any drivers license whatsoever. Needles to say that I did not handle him to friendly for making me run…… I mean, I am an old man, and the amount of doughnuts I will have to consume to get back my “Unique figure “ again, just think of the cost!

            When I got back to the vehicle, I was amazed to find 15 elderly passengers in the back and four on the front seat. All of them holding their heads and swearing in the traditional African language as only they can.


            [ATTACH]26-01-08_1022.jpg[/ATTACH]
            Attached Files

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            • #7
              Originally posted by L-1 View Post
              Back then, there were no real rules for pursuits. If one came through your town, everyone joined in and at the end, it was not unusual for there to be 40 or 50 police cars from a couple dozen police departments on the scene (and a good time was had by all).
              Been in one of those - what a circus it was!

              In total, the pursuit traversed 120 miles through three counties, which was a record for those days.
              Not bad at all - my record is 4 counties (see below for details).

              It seems that around 250 police cars from outside jurisdictions piled into his town, all of them out of fuel and wanting to use his gas pumps (back then, patrol cars did not carry credit cards).
              Been there, had to break into my wallet to pump a few gallons at the local ARCO station to get back home
              Last edited by andy5746; 02-24-2008, 02:19 PM.
              LIFE IS TOO SHORT TO DRINK CHEAP BEER!

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              • #8
                My favorite:

                Back in 1989, while working along the southeastern boundary of L.A. and Orange Counties, I was bookman when we got a 245 Now call (Felony Assault in progress). While rolling into the area we saw the suspect vehicle coming right at us - an older Ford El Camino with 2 guys in front and two in the back bed area. They were suspected in a multiple stabbing at a local party that they had crashed.

                We made a quick turn and the chase was on. It was about 0100 Hours on a Saturday, so traffic was light. After several minutes on surface streets, we found our way onto the 91 Freeway heading east. We had just about every car on our shift in line at that time. As we continued on from Los Angeles into Orange County, at every on-ramp was a unit, ready to join in. They would merge onto the freeway, pull up next to us, smile & wave and then drop back into the ever-growing conga-line. The chase took us to the northbound 57 Fwy, then to the eastbound 60 - picking up CHP cruisers, cars from local Sheriff's stations and every small PD we went near.

                At this point we heard an update on the radio that one victim was critical, so we knew this chase was going to the gates of Hell - no one back then would dare stop a pursuit of attempt-murder suspects.

                A Sheriff's Helicopter picked us up as we went through the Sheriff's Industry Station area and lit up the suspect vehicle with the old Night Sun spot light. I remember being totally amazed when one of the suspects in the back bed, steadied by the other, pulled down his pants and mooned the pilot (we were going 80+ at the time!). My partner at the time mumbled something to the effect of "OK, he's got balls" ...

                By now we had cars from about 6 L.A. County cities (many from contract Sheriff's Stations), about 6 Orange County P.D.s, including at least one O.C. Sheriff's unit, and about 7 CHP units - must have been at least 40 cars in all.

                As we continued east on the 60, we picked up deputies from San Bernardino County Sheriff, as well as at least one from each city we drove by (Chino, Pomona, Montclair, Claremont, Ontario, etc...) as we continue east to the 15 Fwy, now deep in San Bernardino County. There was talk on the radio, taking bets to see if we would head North toward Las Vegas, or South toward Mexico

                The suspect vehicle swerved to the southbound 15 at the last second and took us down into Riverside County, San Diego bound (I lost the bet). I remember looking back to see what I could only describe as a "Rolling Christmas Tree" - with us as the star on top, and all lanes of the freeway being filled up by a sea of light-bars! I wish I had something other than the stupid old Polaroid cameras we carried back then - it was a sight like no other I'd see before or since. As we passed down into Riverside County, we picked up Riverside Sheriff's cars and I think I even saw (can't swear to it) a few Border Patrol cruisers!

                Suddenly the vehicle started to slow and made it's way to the shoulder. Before it even stopped the guys in back had jumped out and ran west through an open field - followed by at least 3 K-9's as I recall.... they didn't get far . The two in front gave up nice and easy The suspects had run out of gas. The whole freeway was shut down and I counted at least 60 cars before I gave up. It was something that, even then, I knew I would never see again.

                Later on I heard about two blown engines and at least 4 cars that ran out of gas along the way. We had just come on shift and had a full tank - we were ready for Vegas or Mexico I think the whole thing lasted about 46 minutes, I forgot how many miles.... I'll have to do a Map Quest on the route and see.

                Fortunately, no traffic collisions and no good guys injured. Unfortunately, this pursuit was the catalyst of some new policies that became ever-more restrictive as time went on. Today, they would have let maybe 3 cars (2 regular and one supervisor) follow - and as soon as CHP showed up they would recall our guys.
                LIFE IS TOO SHORT TO DRINK CHEAP BEER!

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                • #9
                  Andy,

                  I don't know if you remember it, but probably one of the more amusing pursuits that came to us was also back in the early 1980s. While in the station in Phoenix, a Greyhound bus driver hopped off his bus for a minute to get some coffee. A local 5150 climbed on the bus, which was full of passengers, got in the driver's seat, closed the door and off they went. When the driver came back out, his bus was gone.

                  An undercover Arizona DPS narcotics unit spotted the bus driving west on I-10 without headlights and called it in. Pretty soon a ton of Phoenix PD units had fallen in behind the bus but speeds never went over 65 MPH. The pursuit continued west on I-10 through Arizona and into California, picking up units from every PD and SO whose jurisdiction they passed through. You would have thought the Arizona guys would have dropped out when they hit California but, not so. The pursuit ended in Colton, when the 5150 stopped the bus in front of his home, got out and ran. Of course, he made a furtive gesture while doing so and got shot.

                  Probably the hardest part was for the people of Colton, who went through an identity crisis when thy saw all these Phoenix PD cars from 200 miles away in the next state streaming into their town. It might have made them wonder which state they were living in.
                  Going too far is half the pleasure of not getting anywhere

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                  • #10
                    My wierdest was with a stolen Fiero. Driver didn't know how to drive a standard so he stripped all but reverse gear. Followed him thru alleyways and up onto highway where he drove backwards at speed up to 20 kmh till the engine blew. Bicycle patrol members were following him also. Nobody said ya had to be smart to be a crook. (:

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