By Mark Riddering
In law enforcement an exciting (but challenging ) function is The Pursuit —that of chasing down the fleeing bad guys. While it may appear like just a fun ride, there are many dangers, concerns, and liabilities involved. While good street cops experience numerous chases, some undoubtedly stand out. I’ll share one example for your amusement.
One night shift I had a long time friend, Scott, riding along with me in our highly polished Black and White. For hours it was very quiet. Over the radio was information given that an armed robbery had just occurred at a gas station in a neighboring city. We kept the suspect’s car in mind as we moved towards the freeway–possible get away routes. A few minutes later two close friends had the suspect’s car in sight on the freeway. Unfortunately, I was kind of out of position to help. It was around midnight on a quiet Sunday night. The quickest way to help my friends was to enter another freeway going the wrong way for a spell–with all the bells and whistles on, of course! My friend Scott unwrapped a whole pack of gum and began chewing nervously.
We eventually caught up with the pursuit. The speeds were as fast as our car would go. The suspects turned onto a remote beach and fled into the hills of tall brush, armed with a sawed off shot gun. Five of us and a police dog began the search. All of a sudden the dog alerted on a hillside. The large German Shepherd was let off his leash. Like a jet he raced uphill and soon we could hear yelling. Through the darkness we could see a man and dog battling and the dust was flying. We ran to help this brave dog who was being hit by the suspect. As we grabbed the man we began sliding downhill. Of course, the fight was on all the way down. Fortunately the bad guy got the worst of it, and was taken into custody. I was elected to take him into the hospital for treatment.
At the hospital the suspect began whining and threatening a lawsuit for his numerous dog bites, cuts, and abrasions. I asked him where he was from, and he said Oakland. I asked if this occurred in Oakland, what would have happened to him? He started emphatically, “The police would have shot and killed me.” I pointed out how well we treated him, and he agreed.
Later that morning I was sharing the story with the on-coming day shift officers and sergeant. The sergeant puffed his cigar, shaking his head. At this time, detectives from the neighboring city had come for their prisoner. He had his shirt and pants removed for evidence. He was wearing boxer shorts and numerous field dressings. His underwear was bloody from where the dog bit him. The suspect was now limping and groaning with each step. He stopped and looked at me. Almost with a tear in his eye he said, “Officer, thank you for not killing me.” The day shift sergeant puffed his cigar in disbelief saying, “You beat and bit him thoroughly and he’s grateful ….unbelievable.”
The Good Lord protected us all, and the wrong doers were brought to justice. God is Awesome!