The best thing to start saying would be something to the affect than an officer needs help NOW, shots fired. If you are armed, make sure you tell them that and give them a description of your clothing. A description of the officer's assailant. They'll ask you for anything else they figure might be pertinent. All you have to do is get on the radio and tell them than an officer needs help and they'll send the National Guard dang near. Around here, every single LEO will respond to a call of Officer Needs Assistance. LE is tightly knit in this area, so it's not a surprise to even see officers from the neighboring cities or towns respond to a shots fired call!
Good advice above. The location is the most important thing, especially with larger cities/departments, then details.
I had a citizen broadcast, "Send help on Hubbard.", nothing else. A sharp station dispatcher knew it was me and where I was, as I had gone Code6 (out for investigation) at a location on Hubbard a few minutes earlier. He gave that information to central dispatch who broadcast it. Shortly thereafter, the "Red Snake" arrived.
I'd ask and if the officer needed my help I'm going all in. They put their neck on the line day after day to protect me and mine so you're darn tootin' I'd return the favor.
Key words :
"I"m trying to assist an officer in trouble " ............ then............
If you say, "officer down @ (location)" or "officer shot @ (location) " .... you better mean it, because the Army will arrive in force.
"officer needs assistance @ (location) " ...... then a short description of what's going on.
The dispatcher will lock down the channel to emergency traffic only and may redirect others to another channel, will likely have you ID yourself or ask you for more information.... which then any officer responding to the call will also hear.
It would not hurt to say (especially if it's a shot or down officer) .... " I do have a CC license" .... they will either ask, or assume that means you are armed. Surprises are not good. They may be relieved to know someone is there with a gun to protect their cohort from further harm and not shoot you the instant they see you with a gun in your hand....best to holster it the instant you see them coming unless your life depends upon it.
People keep mentioning the radio, but question for you. Let's say this is a traffic stop and you are walking on the street and see the officer and BG wrestling. The first thing that occurs to me is, what if the officer recovers, only to look up and see me in his car. For all he knows, I could be an associate of the BG and trying to arm myself (shotgun in the front or using his car as a weapon). If there was a weapon involved in the conflict he was just in/still is in, he may be quite on edge and feel he has to protect himself from multiple assailants from several directions.
Even if me being in the car just distracts him, it may take his attention away just long enough for the BG to reverse the tide, grab his gun, etc. As someone mentioned earlier, it just takes a split second to reverse the direction of things like this.
I have to say I think I'd call 911 from my cell phone. It accomplishes mainly the same thing and keeps the good guys safer (me from getting accidently shot, and the officer from accidently shooting someone).
As others have alluded to here, I think the appropriate response to an officer in trouble depends on the situation. I also think there are plenty of examples where dialing 911 is NOT the appropriate first step. I think communicating with the officer first and foremost (if possible) would be a great first step. Let the officer know you are a good guy and are here to help. Let's run through a couple scenarios.
1) If the officer is in a grappling match with the suspect (even if it started as a fist fight, street fights usually end up with the opponents grabbing each other and/or going to the ground), you could easily run up and say, "Officer, do you need assistance?" If he responds, follow his instructions. Another option would be just to run up and declare yourself as a good guy by saying "Officer, I'm here to help" and then grab the suspect. If the officer is in control or doesn't want your help, he'll tell you to step away. I honestly can't picture myself seeing an officer fighting with a suspect, and me taking the time to call 911 before offering to help. As others have said, just an extra set of hands on the suspect can give the officer enough edge to regain control of the situation. Who knows how the tides could turn in the 30 seconds I spend on the phone? Most fights probably last less than 2 minutes...do I really want to spend 25% of the officer's struggle on the phone? I wouldn't want to waste time calling 911 unless I could do it as I am running to help.
2) If the officer is incapacitated, and the suspect is still beating/cutting/kicking/aiming at/shooting the officer, you don't have time to dial 911 IMO. Act IMMEDIATELY to stop the threat to the officer's life. Precious seconds during a beating can mean the difference between life, paralysis, permanent brain damage, and death. Taking the time to dial 911 in this scenario would be foolish IMO.
3) If the officer is in a shootout, that's a whole 'nother can of worms. There are so many variations on this one, it is impossible to slap on a blanket plan of action that would be appropriate in all cases. Maybe the officer is pinned down behind some poor cover, and your best course of action would be to put your vehicle between the shooter and the officer. Maybe there is a group of shooters that are clearly overwhelming the officer, and you could run them over or scatter them with your vehicle (at the risk of being caught in the crossfire). But if the officer is conscious and taking cover, chances are he/she has already alerted fellow officers of the situation. So again, if I think the officer's life is in danger, and he/she needs my IMMEDIATE help, I will probably help physically before calling 911.
Needless to say, these are only my opinions. Each person may choose to act differently.
Months ago I watched in news that a officer was struggling with a bad guy in a parking lot of a supermarket. Lots of people were watching but no one was helping.
One women we had taser gun with her, tasered the bad buy to help the officer.:35:
I will help police officers if they need help by any means.
Like Timezoneguy, I was once a medic. One night in a small ER, we heard a commotion in one of the exam rooms. A druggie/prisoner had gotten the best of a LEO and was busy thrashing him when we entered the room. Without hesitation, my partner and I joined the melee. This guy was whacked on PCP and had super human strength. Unfortunately, the LEO was able to reach his pepper spray and deliver a healthy dose to the whole room. The BG was unfazed but we still hung on to him until the LEO was able to cuff him. We knew the LEO but it wouldn't have mattered. I would do it again.
well, sometimes there is no calling anyone, it's jumping in and doing what needs to be done.
DB4usa; good job.
I seemed to have a knack for walking around the wrong corner at the wrong time, all of the time.... and the ..... was on.
A good sap can work wonders in these kinds of events.