STOCKTON (CBS13) — The deadly Stockton bank robbery has raised questions about when officers should engage in a pursuit.

Sacramento County Sheriff Scott Jones says he’s been in multiple car pursuits in his long career, but Wednesday’s deadly encounter was extremely unusual.

“These things transcend normal law enforcement experience,” he said.

His department wasn’t involved in the pursuit, but he says it presents many variables to consider.

“It’ll take some and time and people will be clamoring for answers,” he said.

Jones says the number of officers used in the pursuit is a difficult call to make.

“How many officers could be needed? Who knows?” he said. “What we knew of is you had three suspects. You had multiple crime scenes. If that car would have stopped and the suspects went in three different direction you would have had to set up three different perimeters.”

In the end it comes down to being ready for what could happen.

“Does there need to be 20 cars following the pursuit? Probably not,” he said. “Does there need to be 20 officers available for any number of potential outcomes of that pursuit? I would argue yes.”

But could the nearly hour-long pursuit have been ended sooner?

“It’s not only the safety of the hostages and the officers have to think about but more of an overall global view about safety,” he said. “This pursuit went on for a very long time over a large geographic area. They have to be concerned about other motorists, other residents in the area and the officers themselves.”

Whether the death of a hostage could have been prevented is too soon to judge, but Jones says when that information comes out, it’s something all of law enforcement could benefit from.

“While they’re tragic and giant operations they also represent an opportunity for not only that agency to learn and grow, but other agencies to learn and grown as well,” he said.

The sheriff also says its SWAT team was ready if the pursuit ended in Sacramento County.


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