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Rotorcraft Report: Book Review; Apprehending Fleeing Suspects: Suspect Tactics and Perimeter Containment

By Staff Writer | February 1, 2005

Apprehending criminals on foot or in ground vehicles while flying several hundred feet above them in a helicopter requires coordination with police elements on the ground and good radio contacts, as well as a high degree of training between air and ground units.

Officer Jack H. Schonely, a helicopter pilot with the Los Angeles Police Department, has authored "Apprehending Fleeing Suspects: Suspect Tactics and Perimeter Containment," a book specifically dealing with the art of the chase.

While Schonely's book is intended to be a teaching tool for young beat officers, police aircrews will also find that it has a wealth of helpful information. Through the use of photographs, diagrams and step-by-step descriptions, the book marries the mindset of the patrol officer to the special capabilities of the helicopter and helps to build an effective crime fighting relationship between the two.

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Among the 114 pages of straight-talking text is a chapter entitled "Working With Airborne Assets," specifically on utilizing aircraft to help catch criminals. Subject matter includes when ground units should call for a helicopter, what the aircrew should do upon their arrival, and how to manage the chaos that usually accompanies the pursuit of a criminal. The book gives special emphasis to effective communications techniques between officers on the ground and those in the air, such as where the suspects were last seen, how officers should be deployed to block their escape and the safest way to close in for the apprehension phase.

"Apprehending Fleeing Suspects" is the result of over 24 years of lessons learned during the author's experiences in a variety of assignments within the LAPD. Starting off as a patrolman in South Central Los Angeles, Schonely also served as a field-training officer, undercover vice detective, canine handler, and member of the elite Metropolitan Div. that handled stakeouts, VIP protection and the 1992 L.A. riots. Prior to becoming an LAPD pilot, he served as a tactical flight officer, where his time on the street proved particularly beneficial to his effectiveness in the aircraft.

"Apprehending Fleeing Suspects" (ISBN 0-398-07541-7) is available in soft cover from Charles C. Thomas Publisher, LTD, 2600 South First Street, Springfield, Illinois 62704. The cost is $21.95.

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