Monday, February 2, 2009

My First Pursuit

I thought I'd share the story of my first pursuit. It made the local news because another officer went to the hospital. Two women went to the hospital, and I took out a traffic light.

It was almost time for dinner, lunch, breakfast, whatever. I worked night shift and it was nearly 4 in the morning. I'm coming up to a street and this motorcycle goes by practically at the speed of sound. I'm thinking I can stop this guy, give him a warning for speeding (since I couldn't actually use my radar, it was one of those situations you can see the vehicle is going too fast). I catch up to him and stop him. At first he stops. He then turns his head and looks at me. Unknown to me he is sizing me up. He then takes off. I think my first reaction was "oh sh**!" I couldn't believe what just happened. So, I go after him. Chasing a motorcycle in a car is very difficult. A motorcycle is basically pure engine with a seat built into it. We raced down several streets, onto the highways and was joined by another agency. The man turned into a neighborhood and lost me, but not other officers. As he came out I was turning around to catch up. He turned up a street at an intersection where the traffic light sits on a post, in an island in the middle of the intersection. A dumb place to put a traffic light if you ask me. A block ahead an officer crashes into a car with two ladies. They all go to the hospital. I take the turn too fast and then try to hit the brakes. I skid up onto the island and crash into the traffic pole. At this time the radio traffic of the first officer's crash was being broad casted. I dreaded getting on the air to announce I'd just been involved in a crash. With great reluctance I uttered "23 crash!" I could already hear my supervisor cursing my name from miles away. I layed out that traffic pole just right, I obliterated it. All I did to my patrol car was lose a hubcap and dent the front license plate. Hell, I could have probably driven off, but I'm not that kind of guy. My supervisor comes out as does another officer to work the crash. I remember him asking how to write the report. Well it was obvious, I was at fault. He then asks if he should issue me a citation! I look at him and think "if he even tries to write me a ticket I'm gonna dropkick his ass right here and now!" The supervisor looked at him incredulously and said "no citation he was running emergency traffic remember!" While we were there, the suspect came fleeing through the intersection with about five officers on his ass. He looked at me briefly as if taunting me. He eventually surrendered when the helicopter hit him with the spot light. His reason for running, his license was suspended and he didn't want to go to jail. I drove the patrol car to the garage. I ended up with a written reprimand. I was cool with it, if that's all I was getting I was happy. Now today I'd probably be suspended. Our administration is more apt to hand out heavy punishments despite a written "progressive discipline" philosophy.

The next morning my family and peers saw the news footage. "A wild police chase last night on the south west side ended with two separate crashes, three people in the hospital and two police cars wrecked!" They showed footage from the more serious crash, then at the very end a two second clip of my patrol car on top of the traffic light. I could almost hear the "waa waa waaaaaaaaaa" in the background.

No comments: