“Failure to set a good perimeter”

You might be asking “How can we get in trouble if we don’t set a good perimeter?”  You may not get in trouble – directly – but how do you feel if someone who really needs to go to jail escapes a poorly set perimeter or one was never set?  What if your suspect escapes from your perimeter and causes trouble or serious harm to someone else because you weren’t able to successfully contain and locate them?

Many a suspect has successfully avoided apprehension because of poor decisions during an initial foot pursuit and the failure to set a good perimeter that may have allowed a successful search to be conducted by patrol officers, a tactical team and/or a K9 team. Perimeter containment should be considered a perishable skill and training prioritized.

One of the best books addressing this topic is titled “Apprehending Fleeing Suspects” by Jack Schonely who also teaches a “live” class on the same subject called “Suspect Tactics and Perimeter Containment.”  Here’s a few things he says;

Foot Pursuit versus Containment

“Every foot pursuit is unique, but every officer must be realistic when evaluating the situation.  During foot pursuits many tactical decision are made quickly by the officer. One of those decisions will be whether to continue to chase or attempt to contain the suspect.”

Decision to Contain

“Before making the decision to contain, officers must fully understand what perimeter containment is and what is required for success.  “Perimeter containment” is the containment of an area, large or small, utilizing officers deployed to the corners, with a clear line of sight of ALL sides of that containment area.  The simple goal of perimeter containment is to limit the movement of a fleeing suspect in an area that officers control using themselves and their police vehicles as a visible deterrent to the suspect.”

Responding Units

“The primary officer during a containment certainly starts the wheels in motion, but the officers responding to the scene are responsible for the completion of the perimeter. The keys to success for responding officers are listening to communications, prompt response, and strategic positioning.”

K9 Search Operations

“Many agencies have access to K9 units able to search for suspects.  The value of the K9 search team for perimeter containment is threefold; it saves time, it is effective, and most importantly, it lessens the risk to officers.”

Training to Meet the Challenge

“Perimeter containment is a proven technique that requires consistent training of all officers in the field.  If some very basic rules are followed by everyone involved it can be a simple task.  But it requires training and practice.”

Failing to set a good perimeter might not get you in trouble, but it can definitely increase the possibility of trouble for someone else.  I recommend you consider reading Jack’s book or visit his OfficerTactics.com web site to learn more about his classes.

Take care, be safe and work as a team to set a good perimeter…

Bill Lewis II

This “Reason” was originally shared on October 28, 2013