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Samantha Hayes ReportingHigh speed chases have caused chaos on Utah roads lately. One went through a farmer's fence in Riverton. Another was a chase through the normally quiet streets of Tooele. Two weeks ago one spooked students at Copper Hills Elementary.
One thing all high speed chases have in common is the extreme danger they pose to people who just happen to be in the way. And that's why law enforcement agencies now place heavy emphasis on pursuit training. It's essential for cadets to pass this test where unexpected scenarios are presented at every turn.
Wade Breur, Utah Dept. of Public Safety: “Simulate a pursuit in as real an environment as we can.
That means closing the books and getting out where the requirement is quick thinking under pressure.
Dennis Bradford, Police Academy Cadet: “A lot more to it than focusing on the car. You have to focus on things around you.”
Like an unexpected icy road. Around another corner are deer, real ones. And all this must be communicated through the radio during the pursuit.
Wade Breur: “They get in the habit of holding the radio as they try, and they make a turn and the microphone cord is wrapped around the steering wheel.”
One important goal of the simulation is to get potential officers to concentrate on several things at once -- not only the pursuit, but also road conditions. Bags are supposed to simulate rocks.
Sometimes the road blocks are other cars or pedestrians, and that's why this training is taken so seriously.
Nathan Gundersen, Police Academy Cadet: “They want to find out if you are ready for it.”
Night time pursuit training is now heavily emphasized by law enforcement agencies because that's when police chases are more likely to happen.