When does a cop run?

Are police specifically trained to run or not run depending on the type of call/incident?

I once worked in an urban public high school with relatively high levels of violence. I responded to a fight by running to break it up. One of the school police officers looked at me and said “Never run”. I don’t know if this was because running gives the impression that things are out of control, or if he simply didn’t care if the kids pummeled each other, but given the prevalence of knives (and occasional guns) I was surprised he told me this. Whenever there was a radio call for a fight in progress, the police took their time responding so I was sometimes the first one. Now, I know its tiring to respond to fights all day and easy to get complacent, but is the “never run” motto common in law enforcement?

Obviously if someone is running down the street with a gun, or the there is an active shooter scenario, or someone is fleeing a scene, a cop on foot would give chase.

But, what about a domestic violence call? What about just a typical bar fight observed by an officer? Is running something police are told not to do unless absolutely necessary? Is there specific training or theory that discourages running unless someone’s life is imminently threatened?

As an interesting aside, given the number of weapons I saw in school they were never used during fights. Kids usually ditched the knives as soon as administrators or teachers got on the scene. Obviously they didn’t want to get caught, but also my guess is that kids didn’t really want to injure each other– they carried knives for protection (and for a smaller minority, to commit armed robbery) outside of school.

Never RUN because…

  1. You’ll arrive winded and amped up.

  2. Bystanders/participants may misunderstand your intentions.

  3. You’ll have less time/presence of mind to access the situation.

  4. Hi Opal.

What you CAN do is to walk quickly or hurry, but never run.

True story: A few months ago, I was working overnight at a hotel. Around 1 or 2 in the morning, all of a sudden, I see blue lights everywhere, cops swarming the place. I remained locked in the office - because I’m not stupid - but called my husband to see if he could find out what was going on. (Mr. M is a deputy in the next county.) My description of events included the statement “It must be something big. The fat cops are running too!” (Turns out that a chase started in another town when an unlicensed drunk sideswiped a patrol car, and ended when the drunk put his car in a ditch in front of the hotel and led a foot chase before getting tased in our parking lot.)

So anecdotally, cops run when a fellow officer has been hurt. And when they’re chasing bad guys.

This is known as “proceeding”.

Obviously not any kind of law enforcement officer or psychologist, but…

If you are a police officer a lot of your security is going to come from appearing to be in control of the situation. You don’t want people to be weighing up their chances of taking you on and getting away with it, you want it to not even occur to them as a possibility.

People act in a much more instinctual way when they are angry, and running keys into the fight or flight response in all sorts of very fundamental ways. You wouldn’t run or make sudden movements around an angry dog, and the same general rules apply to people. Remaining calm in a stressful situation won’t necessarily keep the other person calm, but it makes them less likely to channel their anger into actual violence against you. Of course, actually staying calm in a tense situation is much easier said than done, but the police get a lot of practice.

And in general, it’s always a bad idea to arrive unexpectedly in the middle of a fight, especially for a police officer. Their legal and social status can’t protect them if someone doesn’t even see their badge until after he has punched them, and the resulting “oh fuck I just hit a police officer, how do I get out of this?” could easily escalate things in unpredictable ways.

Cops also run when chased by a bear.

(Sorry, couldn’t resist.)

I have to agree with the Cedman, you don’t want to get to the situation and be totally spent. Imagine running a few hundred yards, most people above 30 would be quite winded. Not to mention most cops I see aren’t exactly what I would call in good shape. The youngers one usually are and there are a few that seem to go to the gym quite often. However I see many cops that are distrubingly out of shape.

I have a hard time imagining that they aren’t held to some standard for phsicall fitness. In fact just this evening when we were out to eat a cop came in for dinner and he had to be 300+ pounds. Not muscular pounds either. I was thinking that it probably wouldn’t be too hard to escape from him if you walked at a brisk pace for more than a block or two.

Oh, to answer the origional question of “When does a cop run?” When the hot donuts sign is lit at Krispe Kreme?! HA! Why yes, I do crack myself up.

I was at a retirement party a few years ago for several cops. One of them was a very short, stocky guy; maybe 5’5’’, but husky.

One of the stories that was told about him was by a cop who was a rookie and who was on patrol with him. They were trying to apprehend a fellow, who was running. Rookie started running.

Older cop pulled out his flashlight, which was one of the 15 inch sort, and threw it at the running fellow, getting him in the legs. He fell.

Rookie looks at older cop; older cop says, “I never run”.

Hell no. Two major knee surgeries later… only if I’m being shot at!! LOL

Seriously… you need a quick second to assess the situation as Cedman so aptly pointed out. Rookies run and then suddenly realize what the hell is going on.

And as for you OBBN!!! I don’t have to run… i know the counter girl and she’s saving them for me…so their!!!


Sounds like my husband, except that it’s five major knee surgeries, plus one in the pipeline, and Dairy Queen Blizzards instead of Krispy Kreme! :smiley: He says that he wouldn’t wear all that crap on his duty belt if he had to run to get the bad guys!

You can’t outrun a radio. That’s what backup is for.

And dogs.

And tazers.

Perhaps that cop was just a big “Colors” fan:

“Hey Pop, let’s say we run down there and fuck one of them cows.”

“Nah. Let’s walk down and fuck 'em all.”

But I’ve seen plenty of online video of cops running like mad. It’s usually when they’re chasing someone. So I wouldn’t say it’s a hard and fast rule.

That’s what I was going to say. I haven’t watched it for a few years, but I used to watch “Cops” every week, and it seemed like every show had at least one foot chase.

What I expected the OP to be about was not “do cops ever run,” but rather, when do they chase instead of shoot?

If they have reason to believe that some guy has done something really bad, and he starts running when they try to apprehend him, is it ever doctrine to try to shoot him in the legs or something, rather than just chasing him?

Cops officially NEVER shoot for the legs, If they draw their firearm and use it, it’s because the person did something that requires deadly force.
A cops’ gun is not a tool to make a his job easier; it’s a weapon used to kill a person endangering somebody’s life.

Peace - DESK