LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — Pursuits. They’re as much a part of Los Angeles as the Lakers or Dodgers. But a recent grand jury report found that they’re causing unnecessary injuries and deaths to bystanders and questioned the way law enforcement trains.
CBS2’s Stu Mundel spent a day with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department to see exactly how the prepare for a pursuit.
They’re exciting. They’re also unpredictable, extremely dangerous and at times deadly something no one knows better than law enforcement.
L.A. County Sheriff’s Deputy Ramiro Juarez trains deputies at the emergency vehicle operations center in Pomona. He says all deputies spend four days at EVOC not only learning about high performance driving, but also about making high pressure decisions.
“You’re driving a 4,400-pound car and the last thing you want is it to become is your coffin,” deputy Juarez said.
Juarez says public safety is the number one priority for the sheriff’s department when a pursuit is taking place.
“We hammer it into your head and train you to look and keep that high visual horizon,” Juarez said. “Don’t get so locked in on the bad guy that you lose all focus of what’s around you.”
From simulators to the track, deputies learn about accelerating, braking, road position and most importantly, their patrol car’s limits.
“I always tell our recruits there shouldn’t be any drama when they drive, there shouldn’t be any howling of tires… if they’re doing that they’re not being efficient.”
Deputy Juarez says if a pursuit gets too crazy they won’t hesitate to call it off. And unlike the LAPD and CHP, the sheriff’s department does not utilize the pit maneuver as a way of ending a chase.
“Being behind the wheel was so eye opening. It shows you the extreme levels and the concentration and what is going on inside these vehicles when law enforcement is in a pursuit,” Mundel said.