Home > Stories From Small Town > Fight, Flight, and Chase

Fight, Flight, and Chase

Everyone should be familiar with fight or flight. This is the mode your body goes into when you are in danger. You experience tunnel vision and your brain zeros in on safety. You won’t even realize you have pumped up adrenaline until you suffer the dump which happens after you’re finally out of danger; shaking, crying, and laughing are a few of the after effects.

Police officers have these same responses but we train to fight. It’s very hard to kick in our flight reflex even when we should. “Go home each night to your family,” is our daily motto. This means there are situations we need to get the hell out of, quickly. I think police officers are wired to have more of the fight instinct even before training begins. Disabling our fighting nature is difficult and I’ve been yelled at by supervisors for staying in a situation longer than I should.

I will admit I differ from my younger cop counterparts in one major area now. Cops love to give chase. They love runners; either on foot or in vehicles. Nothing gets an officer in the proper mood more than a good chase.

In my first two years of street duty I was guilty of the same response. Duty pants torn from hip to thigh, yep with everything hanging out, was only one of my many perils. Everyone now knows I wear black underwear beneath my uniform.

Can I outrun, tackle, and torment my escapee? I’ll be honest and say I’ve never outrun anyone on foot. I’ve had some pretty good car pursuits though. All have been short, and most end in the suspect ditching the car and running, I hate that. I was able to Tase a guy while he fought with my old partner Jim after a vehicle pursuit then foot chase. We were in mud and I received quite the electrical shock too. You will never see that video on cops.

When it comes to relying on my legs, I’m older now. My body requires additional coddling. The longer I’m an officer the more it takes to get my adrenaline pumping and I guess I’m wiser too.

A few months ago, my squad poked at me for not chasing a suspect on foot after he took a heavy inanimate object to his roommate’s head.

I was the first one to spot Coco (his street name) and I dispatched my location. Coco refused to get within Taser range but I was using my “Just come to the police department and talk to me” grandma voice when another officer came around the corner doing fifty miles an hour. Coco took off and the officer slammed on his brakes, jumped out, and started chasing.

I calmly got back in my car and began following. Coco is young, slender, and fast. My Crown Vic, is old, heavy, and reliable; kind of like me. Five blocks later I lost the first officer but kept Coco in my sights. He finally slowed and again I got out of my vehicle and started trying to coax him to do as I wanted.

Tearing around the corner, another officer charged our location. Coco got a little rest while we socialized and he took off again. Officer two flew from his vehicle and started running. I couldn’t help my sigh.

Here we go again and within another few blocks I have no backup and I’m following Coco as he slows and starts walking. I call in my location, knowing my fellow officers are heading back to their vehicles so they can find us.

“Really Coco, you want to keep running?”

“No, but they keep chasing me.”

“Then jump in the back of my car and I’ll take you in.”

“I need some water.”

“I’ll take you to Circle K and buy you one.”

“Are you being straight up?”

“Yep, but you better hurry because they’re getting close again.”

Coco jumped in my backseat. I have a cage so he’s separated from me and you can’t open the doors from the inside. I was pretty sure he didn’t have a weapon but I asked him anyway.

“Do you have any guns, knives, or bazookas on you?”

“No guns or knives but what’s a bazooka?”

I am getting so old, “It’s a type of bubblegum.”

“Oh, do you need some gum?”

“Yes, but I’ll pick it up when I buy your water.”

“Okay, thanks man, I mean ma’am.”

“No problem Coco, this isn’t my case but if you want me interviewing you I can.”

“No, I’ll talk to Sanders though.” Sanders is the first cop who chased him.

Gosh, there is no loyalty between cops and crooks these days.

I called in my Circle K location and the parking lot filled with red and blue flashing lights. I took Coco out of the back and searched him for weapons but I told him I would wait to put on handcuffs until after he drank his water. My fellow officers were pissed off but I told them they could buy their own water.

After handcuffing my in custody, I drove back along Coco’s escape route and located his shoe which he lost while running.

I took razzing from my squad for not chasing on foot. They seem to miss the fact that words did more good. I don’t mind. There are days I wish I started this career in my twenties and had the chance to run with the best of them.

Coco was out of jail the next morning and every time I see him he waves.

Sometimes I think police work is not a profession for older people, but then again; brains, laziness, and a good reliable police cruiser make up for it. Have I mentioned lately that I love my job?

  1. September 29, 2012 at 9:42 am

    I love this story, Suzie. With all the ugliness you deal with, it’s nice to read something that’s both funny and pretty friendly. If I ever get arrested (something very high on my never ever ever list), I hope it’s by someone at least half as nice as you. ;)

    • September 29, 2012 at 9:53 am

      I have my mean moments too but I like nice better.

  2. September 29, 2012 at 9:57 am

    “I love my job?”

    Suzie,

    I’m glad you said this. Of late, it hasn’t sounded that way. I suspect that’s been the tiredness and you Mom’s knee that’s been wearing you down. That exhaustion is toxic.

    Kids are unbelievably fast runners. I was a sprinter, so I could catch ‘em till I was about 30, after that, they were electrically powered long dogs. First 50 yards, I’d get some, after that, it was over. Most UK towns are rabbit warrens, where if you don’t get ‘em quick, they’re lost to human sight.

    American cops are frankly, much better thief takers, runners and chasers than UK cops, certainly during my time. Yer keener all round, to my memory, anyway.

    Smarts usually win, and talking smooth is pretty cool under pressure. Dunno if I’d have let him in the wagon wivout a thorough cleansing though. Have some unfortunate memories of stuff wot happened with unchecked prisoners.

    Take care, Suzie, we luvz ya:)

    Black undies, eh? I’ll never tell…..

    brendan

    • September 29, 2012 at 10:09 am

      Yes, I took heat for letting him in the car too but if I approached him I knew he would take off running. I used the power locks and unlocked the door on the other side of the car. Still, you are right and he could have just as easily jumped in the passenger seat next to me. I really do love my job!

  3. evergreeneden
    September 29, 2012 at 10:16 am

    Haha You so totally rock. :) I’ll have to tell you my “fight” story some time. Back when I was young I must have had a little bit of cop in me because I tried to stop a couple of big black ladies who were shoplifting in my little store… by locking them in and informing them that I had pushed the “cop button” behind my counter. Yeeeeah. Guess you can figure out where that went, no? ;D Promise to tell you sometime soon… xoxo and thanks for the laughs!!!

    • September 29, 2012 at 4:28 pm

      Oh you didn’t just end the story there! How dare you!!! Two big ladies and little old you, come one and give it up or blog about it. That’s an order.

  4. driversuz
    September 29, 2012 at 4:33 pm

    Old age and treachery will overcome youth and skill. Keep metaphorically kicking ass!

    • September 30, 2012 at 6:54 am

      I couldn’t say that better!

  5. September 29, 2012 at 6:12 pm

    Love this! Brains over brawn – Yay!

    • September 30, 2012 at 7:02 am

      I’ll use my brains as long as I have them.

  6. September 29, 2012 at 9:05 pm

    Okay, so you didn’t out-chase anyone, but where was Coco in the end…..in the back of YOUR car! You done good! What a great story….I was hanging onto every word!

    • September 30, 2012 at 7:01 am

      It was really hard to keep the smirk off my face. Hmmm, I don’t think I did :-)

  7. Lulu
    September 30, 2012 at 3:50 am

    “…but I told him I would wait to put on handcuffs until after he drank his water. My fellow officers were pissed off but I told them they could buy their own water.” I loved that line – you know why they were ticked, and it wasn’t the water – but you took it in another direction. Ha Ha… Even in situation like these you are building relationships – they may not be healthy relationships – but if you are going to meet these characters on the street, better that they wave their hand at you verses waving a gun or something. Well done!

    • September 30, 2012 at 7:09 am

      I wondered if anyone would get that joke :-) No they weren’t pissed over the water. Living in a small town it makes it very important to have cred on the street. When my friend Melissa Crytzer Fry came for her ride along, a guy on the street leaned in her window and gave me a drug tip. She was really blown away that people just walked up to me and told me these things. Ultimately, I’m a cop and they don’t like me. Ultimately they are criminals and I don’t like them. BUT respect goes both ways. Thank you Lulu!

  8. September 30, 2012 at 5:01 am

    I love this story…. Big brains rock!

  9. September 30, 2012 at 7:48 am

    Love the story! Also, the picture just made me laugh lol. Bazooka? haha

    • September 30, 2012 at 8:22 am

      The picture was perfect and it made me laugh too. And thank you for commenting on Bazooka. It was my favorite bubble gum as a kid (had a comic strip inside the wrapper) and a destructive weapon we heard a lot about. Now we hear “fully automatic, rocket launcher, RPG, bla, bla, bla.” Not nearly as exciting as the word BAZOOKA.

  10. September 30, 2012 at 7:55 am

    I prefer to work smarter not harder. Along with being short, fat, and out of shape! I say any opportunity you can use your brains instead of brawn is a good thing. There is a time and place for fighting, chasing,etc. but learning and recognizing when to use what method is what makes you a great cop!

    • September 30, 2012 at 8:16 am

      Thank you Elizabeth. I won’t argue with the great cop comment, I’ll just take it and smile all day. Thank you!

  11. Christine Grote
    October 1, 2012 at 10:10 am

    Sounds like you’re very good at it too. I loved your first book and plan on reading the others when I can get to it.

    • October 2, 2012 at 5:46 pm

      Thank you Christine, I’m working on book III.

  12. October 4, 2012 at 9:19 pm

    I’m seriously laughing. Sometimes being lazier or older has it’s advantages, you didn’t get tired in your “pursuit” and you got him after all :) Great job

    • October 5, 2012 at 7:38 am

      Just think of how I’ll be in ten years! Well, no, don’t think about that :-)

      • October 5, 2012 at 8:06 am

        “Just think of how I’ll be in ten years!”

        Suzie,

        Oh, I don’t question at all.

        Captain Suzie Ivy, First Shuttle to Mars.

        brendan

      • October 5, 2012 at 9:36 am

        I’ll dream of that tonight!

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