Suspect on the run: What to watch for inside the perimeter


Editor's Note: In part two of this exclusive two-part report, Police1 Senior Contributor Charles Remsberg continues with expert tactical observations from pilot and trainer Jack Schonely, who has witnessed hundreds of foot pursuits from the unique perspective of an LAPD helicopter. In part one, Schonely explored five typical flight patterns of offenders running from police. Here, he reveals five of the unexpected tricks suspects are using today to defeat officers within a containment area.

“You need to be suspicious of everyone you encounter inside a perimeter, and especially of everyone trying to come out,” Schonely advises. These are the principal suspect maneuvers to stay alert for:

1. Hiding in residences. “Of course if a suspect knows someone living near where you last saw him, he may hole up there,” Schonely says. “Otherwise he may knock randomly on doors until someone answers and then force or con his way inside. If he’s just robbed some place, he may offer money for refuge. Many these days are crawling into houses through doggie doors.

“Residents who’re intruded on may be too scared to call 911, but if you’re conducting a door-to-door search or are led to a residence by K-9 and you’re observant, their nervousness, evasiveness, or body language may clue you that something’s wrong. A consent search may then tell you more. A footprint on a closet wall, for example, may suggest that you should check out the attic.

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