How LASD law enforcement train for high-speed chases in SoCal

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Los Angeles County sheriff's deputies detailed how they train for wild, high-speed pursuits, similar to one that unfolded in Compton and ended in Corona this week on the 91 Freeway.

On Friday, Los Angeles County sheriff's deputies detailed how they train for wild, high-speed pursuits, similar to one that unfolded in Compton and ended in Corona this week on the 91 Freeway.

Los Angeles - it is known best for its sunny beaches, Hollywood productions and high-speed chases.

Police pursuits seem to fill the freeways and the airwaves with some drivers who try to get attention, while others try to get away. But what many usually get is caught.

"They're not getting away very often. That is very rare," said Dep. Rob Robinson of the LASD.

Even though Robinson hasn't chased a bad guy in 16 years, he's been chasing the good guys as a trainer.

Robinson teaches pursuit techniques at the Sheriff's Emergency Vehicle Operations Center, a winding, blacktop training course in the Pomona Fairplex parking lot.

There, deputies learn the key to pursuits isn't necessarily the gas pedal, but the brakes.

"We teach that we'll stay back a little bit, so if they're in an accident, we're not in it," Robinson said.

Robinson took ABC7 photographer Shawn McCarthy and me out on the track for a front row seat to the training course.

One of the first things you realize is how quickly your body reacts to the chase.

"There is an adrenaline rush that is unbelievable. You have to be able to control that adrenaline rush so that you think clearly and drive safely," Robinson said.

Just juggling the radio while driving is a challenge, and it's just one of a long list of pursuit responsibilities.

"There's a lot of things going on - keeping track where they're going, the condition of the road, understanding the reason of the pursuit, are they being shot at?" he said.

Robinson explained the LASD does not recognize the PIT maneuver because of liability and safety issues.

The current sheriff's department policy is to call in a police chopper to try to notch down the adrenaline and the danger.

"We'll go into surveillance mode, where the cars back way off in hopes of slowing the whole thing down and the helicopter can keep an eye on where they go," Robinson said.

Of course, not every pursuit goes as hoped.

A wild chase in April stretched for two hours and ended with the suspects posing for photos and waiting several minutes for deputies to arrest them.

But in a corner of the world where pursuits often look wild, a peaceful arrest with no injuries is always a good way to end a chase.
Related Topics:
newshigh-speed chasepolice chaselos angeles county sheriff's departmentPomonaLos Angeles County
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