Police Chief Sam Dotson on Dramatic Chase of Teen Suspect: "Is This The World We Want?"

Categories: Crime

sam-doston-fp.jpg
via Facebook
Police Chief Sam Dotson.
One of the first things St. Louis Metropolitan Police Chief Sam Dotson does when he wakes up in the morning is find out what happened that evening while he was sleeping.

Last week, he woke up to news of a particularly troubling police chase that ended without serious injury -- but left him reflecting on the "harsh reality of the world we live in."

Dotson, in what appears to be an unusually personal blog post, writes of this dramatic chase of a fifteen-year-old suspect: "What I discovered on this particular day made me sad, angry and frustrated, but even more so, made me question who is helping us change the culture."

See also:
- Dangerous U.S. Neighborhoods: Sam Dotson Slams Study With St. Louis in Top Spots
- St. Louis Police Chief Sam Dotson Says Crime is Down 7.1 Percent: "Very Optimistic"
- St. Louis Police Chief Sam Dotson, Local Cops Will Wear High Heels...For Good Cause

The post on the chief's blog, where he has been publishing commentary since he stepped up to the position in January, is titled "The Sad Reality of The World We Live In: A Chief's Rant." Dotson says he was earlier reflecting on St. Louis County Police Chief Tim Fitch's recent blog post, "How Not to Become a Homicide Victim." Fitch, as Dotson summarizes, says: "Don't sell drugs, don't carry an illegal gun, remove yourself from abusive relationships and help those with mental illness receive treatment."

After learning of an overnight armed robbery and police chase involving a very young suspect, Dotson says he considers Fitch's commentary in a new light.

sam-dotson-SLMPD.jpg
via Facebook
Sam Dotson, left.

The incident -- according to a summary provided to Daily RFT, full report below -- involves a fifteen-year-old male, now in juvenile custody, who apparently got into all sorts of trouble after 2 a.m. Thursday morning in the Dutchtown South neighborhood.

Police say the unnamed juvenile approached a 35-year-old man who was in his 2006 Cadillac, threatened him with a firearm and forced him to lie on the ground at the 3800 block of Osceola Street.

He then drove off in the stolen vehicle, but minutes later, officers observed him riding in the stolen car. Cops repeatedly tried to stop the suspect with spike strips, but the juvenile fled, at one point even striking the officers' vehicle, the report says. Once the suspect's stolen car came to a stop, he then reportedly tried to run on foot and was finally apprehended by cops, only after they used a taser. He has been charged with first-degree robbery, second-degree assault on a law enforcement officer, leaving the scene of an accident, property damage and resisting arrest.

Of the chase, Dotson writes, "The suspect, with no regard for human life and with reckless disregard for the wellbeing of anyone else including himself, drove erratically and recklessly; even striking a police officer's vehicle."

The suspect also had a criminal history, the chief says:

And to answer the question before you ask: this was not his first foray into the area of criminal enterprises. Somebody should have seen this young man was on a course that needed correction. Where were his parents? Where are his parents? Where were the courts? Where was anyone?

Dotson writes at the end of his post, "Where is the community's outrage? Where are the interventions? This is just one of a countless litany of crimes where we have to stop and ask ourselves: is this the world we want, but more importantly, what are we willing to do to change it?"

Here's the full blog post, followed by the original SLMPD incident report.

The Sad Reality of The World We Live In: A Chief's Rant

The first thing a police chief does after waking up in the morning is find out what happened in their city while they were asleep. This morning was no exception. What I discovered on this particular day made me sad, angry and frustrated, but even more so, made me question who is helping us change the culture.

There are many things in my life which I can control, however there are many more which I cannot. Last night was one of those nights that I could not control.

Before going to sleep last night, I read my friend Tim Fitch's blog. Tim, who is Chief of Police in St. Louis County, blogged about "How Not to Become a Homicide Victim"...one of the things we preach daily in law enforcement. His tips: don't sell drugs, don't carry an illegal gun, remove yourself from abusive relationships and help those with mental illness receive treatment. It made sense, it was common sense, and I agreed with Chief Fitch and his thoughts.

When I woke up this morning, I thought about his message in a different light after learning about the behavior of a 15-year old overnight. It started about 2:20 in the morning when a young man, armed with a handgun, approached a vehicle owner and ordered the owner to lie on the ground while he drove off in the victim's Cadillac. Minutes later, officers observed the 15-year old suspect in the stolen Cadillac. This began a nearly 20 minute pursuit of a 15-year old armed robber. The suspect, with no regard for human life and with reckless disregard for the wellbeing of anyone else including himself, drove erratically and recklessly; even striking a police officer's vehicle. Our training and tactics teach officers to use a variety of methods to end pursuits like this one. I must commend the officers for their professionalism, their composure and their desire to end this pursuit as quickly and safely as possible. Those skills, along with the use of spike strips to deflate the suspect's tires, ended this dangerous fleeing safely.

When the vehicle finally came to rest, the suspect jumped from the vehicle in an effort to run from officers. Officers used a Taser to finally subdue the young man and arrest him. Fortunately, there were no serious injuries to the officers, to citizens or to the suspect. The 15-year old suspect has been charged with Robbery 1st, Assault 2nd on a Law Enforcement Officer, Leaving the Scene of an Accident, Property Damage and Resisting Arrest.

And to answer the question before you ask: this was not his first foray into the area of criminal enterprises. Somebody should have seen this young man was on a course that needed correction. Where were his parents? Where are his parents? Where were the courts? Where was anyone?

Here is the harsh reality of the world we live in: last night, a 15-year old armed with a gun and a 2,000 pound vehicle led police officers on a winding pursuit with little to no regard for anyone's wellbeing, or for that matter, their life. Where is the community's outrage? Where are the interventions? This is just one of a countless litany of crimes where we have to stop and ask ourselves: is this the world we want, but more importantly, what are we willing to do to change it?

Incident summary:

Incident: Carjacking/ACA/Felony Fleeing/Assault 1st LEO (X2)/ Felony Leaving the Scene/Felony Resisting/Property Damage 1st
Location: 3800 block of Osceola
Date/Time: 7/25/13 @ 02:20
Victim #1: 35-year old black male
Victim #2: St. Louis Police Officer
Victim #3: St. Louis Police Officer
Suspect(s): 15-year old black male (in juvenile custody)
Officers responded to a call for a carjacking and upon arrival, Victim #1 reported that upon entering his automobile, the suspect approached him. The suspect then ordered Victim #1 to lie on the ground, displaying a firearm. While Victim #1 was on the ground, the suspect fled in his vehicle, a black 2006 Cadillac. After the description of the stolen vehicle was broadcasted, officers observed the vehicle traveling east in the 4200 block of Meramec. A vehicle pursuit initiated and officers deployed spike strips in an attempt to stop the vehicle. As the suspect continued on, the suspect struck the officers' vehicle at Michigan and Osage. The officers continued to deploy spike strips and the vehicle came to a rest at Gasconade and Louisiana after striking a curb. The suspect exited the vehicle and attempted to flee on foot when an officer deployed his department-issued Taser. The suspect was taken into custody without further incident. The suspect was conveyed to a local hospital for Taser prong removal and found fit for confinement and is now in custody of Juvenile authorities. The investigation is ongoing.

Send feedback and tips to the author. Follow Sam Levin on Twitter at @SamTLevin.



Sponsor Content

Now Trending

St. Louis Concert Tickets

From the Vault

 

General

Loading...