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Officers hanging on to vehicles driving away from them


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  • Officers hanging on to vehicles driving away from them

    First off I am a former MOS but never bothered to go through the vetting for what it's worth. Can anyone who has every reached into a vehicle pulling away from a traffic stop or investigation explain to me why they do this and end up hanging on for dear life as they get dragged for god knows how far? At my academy we were taught put your print on the car, approach it and stay far enough so you can't get pulled into the vehicle or the driver can't reach for your weapon. Now I am left handed which is a huge advantage while talking to a driver or passengers so I always felt confident I was safer than right handed officers but it seems every day on the news there's dashboard cams or body cams of officers reaching into the vehicle to grab something or the car takes off and they grab on.

    Let them go, jump back in your car and go after them. Does any academy teach this, or is it adrenaline or instinct? Thoughts???
    Last edited by dagwood2001; 07-22-2019, 03:05 PM.

  • #2
    Adrenaline, and mis-understood heroism. Looks great in a movie, TV show, or RPG.

    You can't stop the "clients" if you are seriously injured, and that will do it.
    #32936 - Royal Canadian Mounted Police - 1975-10-27 / 2010-12-29
    Proud Dad of #54266 - RCMP - 2007-02-12 to date
    RCMP Veterans Association - Regina Division member
    Mounted Police Professional Association of Canada - Associate (Retired) member
    "Smile" - no!


    • #3
      I am sure it comes up in the academy when discussing officer safety aspects and during FTO, but there are times during the course of our career when what we have learned momentarily goes out the window. We have all been there. I reached in a vehicle that was about to move once. The door was already open and because of other vehicles around me, the safest thing to do was jump in with him because he could only start fleeing in reverse. I did go on a brief ride with him while both of us was in the driver seat. I got to hear what it sounds like when you put a gear shift in park as it is still in forward motion!

      But then, every once in a while, you get a beast like this:



      • #4
        My academy with LASD was 49 years ago and way back then we were drilled into our heads to never reach into a vehicle...I can't count the videos I have seen of officers being dragged by a car after they reached inside and then became stuck...Some years back a LAX Airport cop was killed when he made that fatal mistake. DO NOT DO IT.
        Retired LASD


        • #5
          I made the mistake once, and only once, somewhere around 1995. Tried to grab the car keys from an ignition before perp drove away. Fortunately, I let go after a few feet and the worst that happened was my foot got run over by his rear tire (no injury).

          I'm sure it was covered in the academy as a DON'T DO, but I'm one of those thickheaded types who has to learn lessons the hard way.

          Crosspost to Dumb Things I Did in My Career That Could Have Ended Very Badly.
          Chance favors the prepared mind.

          -Louis Pasteur


          • #6
            Adrenaline & being young.
            I've done it...
            In hindsight, 10 years later...WTF was I thinking.


            • #7
              Just happened a couple of days ago down south. Absolute miracle the officer wasn't killed.....


              • #8
                Attempting to detain a possible fencing suspect, while off duty no less, I actually jumped into the suspect's van to prevent his escape. Four decades later, I'm sure that's why I've got gray hair.
                That said, back then I was young and dumb and full of...enthusiasm. Years later, I was the hot shot sergeant and officer survival instructor. I was riding with a friend from an allied agency when we stopped an unreported stolen car. As we approached the vehicle, the driver took off. My instinct was to grab the car in an attempt to stop it. I knew better by then, but that reaction scared me then and now.

                We really need to emphasize this in training. Likewise, we need to train people not to step in front of vehicles to stop them. Apart from general orders prohibiting shooting at vehicles, this is an excellent way to get murdered.
                John from Maryland


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