To chase or not to chase a suspect? KSN got a behind the scenes look at how the Sedgwick County Sheriff’s Office trains for vehicle pursuits.
“We are doing something that our department has taken very seriously. We do pursuit based training,” said Sedgwick County Sheriff’s Office Lt. Jason Gill.
The training done at the Kansas Law Enforcement Training Center consists of a number of steps with the goal in mind of stopping and catching the suspect involved.
“The goal we have is it’s going to shut the other car off. We want that other car as it spins around, it’s going forward and then all of a sudden it’s going backwards,” Lt. Gill said. “It’s not a violent collision. It’s more of a finesse thing. What we want to see happen is this to get done super early.”
“This is just one more tool we can put in the toolbox to bring a chase to an end quickly before it gets out of hand and people get hurt,” said Sedgwick County Sheriff’s Office Lt. Dan Hershberger.
The training is offered to deputies once they have completed two years on the force. Law enforcement officials who are newly promoted also go through the training.
Lt. Gill said Sedgwick County is one of the only departments that offers pursuit-driving training.
“We are seeing that is helping us on the streets. We are having less incidents and our guys are making better decisions,” he explained.
Both Lt. Gill and Lt. Hershberger explained to KSN many factors go in to deciding if and when deputies should chase a suspect.
“The decision to abandon a pursuit, a lot of times is the best decision. Sometimes, there are those people we absolutely need to take into custody and we need to do it right now,” Lt. Gill said.
“Obviously, somebody who has committed a violent felony act is going to be much more serious and the need for apprehension is going to be much more great,” Lt. Hershberger added.
Both said traffic conditions, road surfaces and public safety are assessed before and during a chase.
“As the deputies are pursuing, they and the supervisors are constantly evaluating that need to pursue versus the need to stop what they are doing,” Lt. Gill said.