Rapid City patrol officers undergo 'realistic' pursuit training - KOTA Territory News

Rapid City patrol officers undergo 'realistic' pursuit training

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"Units standby for ATL intoxicated driver," said Lt. Elias Diaz into his police radio. 

As part of a training scenario, a maroon Chevy Impala takes off at a high rate of speed around the former Alert Pad at Ellsworth Air Force Base. The drunk driving scenario escalates when Lt. Diaz adds that the driver struck a child while pulling out of driveway.  

"This is a situation where that officer is going to take action," said Diaz. 

The officers in the patrol division of the Rapid City Police Department are practicing a method called TVI or Tactical Vehicle Intervention.  It's when an officer uses his police car to stop a fleeing suspect vehicle.

With a light tap to the bumper the vehicle spins, allowing the pursuing officer and his backup to pin the suspect so he can't escape.  

"It's proven very effective. It's very safe and a controlled way, predictable way to end a pursuit. We can end this pursuit on our terms," said Diaz. 

For rookie officer Cory Schumacher, the training is not only an adrenaline rush but it's realistic.  

"It opens your eyes and lets you know this could happen someday," said Schumacher. 

And, just like in real life, the officers can't predict what the suspect will do.  A big part of the training is testing the officer's judgement.  Is the call that is urgent enough to perform a TVI?

"Not every situation, not every scenario, not every portion of pursuit is safe to do this maneuver," said Diaz. 

It's performed less than 20 percent of the time, according to Lt. Diaz.  It's reserved only for serious crime pursuits.  

"If it would be a threat for them to be back on the streets, then we would want to get this person off the streets as soon as possible," said Schumacher.

TVI is a way to do that as an alternative to spike stripes.  And, it can safely let the officer dictate the end of a pursuit.  

"It brings the very best out of the officers, bares it all down to one scenario that they have to demonstrate themselves successful at," said Diaz.

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518 St. Joseph St.
Rapid City, SD 57701

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Fax: 605.342.7305

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