“Suspect fleeing on foot!” has crackled over the police scanner more than a few times recently.
Montezuma County Sheriff Steve Nowlin reports a surge of wanted criminals and suspects who choose to run, or try to, when approached by deputies.
“It’s a sign of the times because we are catching more crimes in progress,” he said. “We train for foot chases, and our officers keep physically fit.”
On Aug. 31, Sgt. Adam Alcon observed a man with an active warrant walking on Main Street, and followed him for a short distance after he climbed into a vehicle.
The man exited the vehicle and fled on foot through the west side of the Quik Cash parking lot. Alcon blocked him with his patrol vehicle, then chased the suspect on foot through a field behind the Aneth Motel. As Alcon prepared to stop him with a shot from his stun gun, the suspect tripped and fell and was apprehended.
According to the arrest report, the suspect had 5 grams of meth, a pipe, a gram of black tar heroin, 16 Hydrocodone pills and 25 green morphine pills. He was charged with possession with intent to manufacture or distribute a controlled substance, possession of drug paraphernalia and obstructing government operations.
On Sept. 4, a sheriff deputy cruising Colorado Highway 145 spotted a wanted man who fled on foot but was soon apprehended. Upon being searched, the suspect, a convicted sex offender, had a meth pipe and hypodermic needle in his pocket. Upon being handcuffed, the man attempted to escape again, but was quickly restrained.
Man escapes courthouseOn Sept. 8, District Court Judge Doug Walker remanded a young man who just turned 18 to police custody during a court proceeding. Twenty minutes later, while waiting to be taken to jail, the man boldly fled the courthouse and escaped by foot down a Cortez city street.
A deputy stationed at the entrance of courthouse lost sight of him, but a witness stated he saw “a kid running in a southwestern direction” from the building.
“He jumped into a waiting vehicle,” Nowlin said.
A woman who had arrived with the man to the court appointment left a few minutes before he escaped, according to deputy reports.
The escapee was in court for violating conditions of parole, Nowlin said. He was also charged with escape, a Class 4 felony, and had not been apprehended as of Monday, Sept 19.
Nowlin said two deputies typically handle court security – one stationed in the district courtroom and one at the entrance. But on the day of the escape, there was only one court security deputy at the entrance because the other deputy is on sick leave and the backup deputy was on vacation.
“It shows we need more personnel to cover those periods of time when staff is thin,” he said.
Dealers on the runOn Sept. 8, Deputy Xavier Brito spotted a wanted man who fled to the soccer fields behind the Calkins building. Brito chased down and apprehended the man, who had an empty gun holster on him. A witness reported he had seen the man throw something, and a search of the area revealed a handgun and syringes. He was charged with possession of a dangerous weapon by a convicted felon, resisting arrest, and possession of a unlawful controlled substance, according to Nowlin.
Nowlin said he’s proud of the fitness level of his staff.
“Foot chases are dangerous but necessary,” he said. “Being fit and keeping fit gives our deputies the advantage. We have had to order new uniforms because of people losing so much weight hitting the gym and staying active.”