“It’s certainly not something that we advocate, and we don’t advocate it because of a safety aspect,” Sgt. Kelly McLean said.
“We’re concerned about people being injured. You really don’t know in these situations what the accused person’s going to do.”
The advice follows two recent incidents in which citizens restrained suspects until the arrival of police.
The first occurred last Friday in the 1400 block of Central Avenue, when a man attempted to flee the scene after the stolen vehicle he was driving flipped on its side following a collision with another vehicle. Witnesses held onto the suspect while waiting for the police to appear.
The second took place on Saturday at 10:02 p.m., when police responded to a complaint of a motor vehicle theft from the 100 block of Donaldson Street.
The owner of the stolen vehicle had observed someone driving away in his truck and promptly began chasing the suspect in another vehicle. A few blocks from his residence, he managed to block the stolen truck in.
The accused exited the truck and attempted to flee, but the other man chased him down and managed to restrain him after a pursuit of approximately 100 or 200 feet.
“We just happened to be responding,” McLean recalled. “We see the truck that was reported stolen there with nobody in it. Our vehicle pulls up and the owner of the vehicle calls to the responding officer, ‘I got him right here.’”
No injuries were reported in either of the episodes where a member of the public detained a suspect for police.
It’s certainly not something that we advocate, and we don’t advocate it because of a safety aspect. - Sgt. Kelly McLean
Nevertheless, McLean reiterated the department’s official advice to residents not to get involved, citing safety concerns.
“It’s not something that we bang the drum and we advocate the public getting involved that way,” he said. “However, some people make those split-second decisions and in these circumstances, in both of them, it worked out well because we had somebody theoretically in custody when we arrived on the scene.
“It’s a decision, I guess, that each individual has to make on their own. We like to think that if these individuals find themselves in that situation where an accused person or a suspect is attempting to flee and there was any indication of a weapon or any type of threat that they would obviously stand down and let the police do their job.
“But in both of these circumstances, it worked out fine.”
The accused in the first case, 21-year-old Cody John McAdam of Muskoday First Nation, has been charged with theft of a motor vehicle, two counts of fail to remain, dangerous driving, impaired driving, exceeding .08 and breach of recognizance.
Regarding the latter incident, an 18-year-old Prince Albert male has been charged with theft of a motor vehicle. He was released on an undertaking with conditions and is scheduled to make his first provincial court appearance on Thursday, March 28.