On Jan 21, Deputy Jeffrey DeGrow of the Charleston, SC Sheriff’s Office was investigating a reported burglary. Nearby, he confronted three men, who ran from him. DeGrow chased the men, and as he followed them around the corner of a building, DeGrow was shot multiple times, including in the right eye.
Here’s the radio traffic from that night:
DeGrow not only survived the shooting, he was able to keep complete control of himself to direct responding deputies and EMS to his location. DeGrow was also able to provide a detailed description of one of the suspects.
Three points. First, be extremely careful when chasing subjects on foot. In this particular case, DeGrow was outnumbered three to one. Those numbers did not appear to come into play, but could have been just as dangerous as being shot.
Second, it is much tougher to spot movement consistent with drawing a weapon while in chase. Turning a corner is a typical ambush point, but it can happen while in flight. From the Force Science Institute:
How long would you have time to react?
Lastly, remaining calm, even in the most extreme circumstances, enhances your ability to survive. Forcing yourself to be calm allows you to focus on getting location information out to responding officers, and on moving to a safer location, if possible.
Staying calm is contagious also. Listen to the others on the radio: they were feeding off of Deputy DeGrow’s professionalism. By DeGrow sounding calm, they stayed calm (as possible in the circumstances). Everyone remaining calm means radio traffic is easier to understand and responding deputies are less likely to wreck enroute.
Take a look at some of the foot pursuit safety tips we covered a couple of years ago and incorporate them into your thinking and tactics. Nothing we do in law enforcement will ever be 100% safe, but the idea is to stack the deck in our favor.
The trial of the alleged shooter started earlier this week.