Here's a three-part experiment.
1.) Take the average law enforcement officer -- a highway patrol officer, say -- and put him through a high-speed chase, one of the most high-stress situations a cop can endure. (In the past, the resulting adrenaline rush has been cited as a contributing factor in some very bad post-chase behavior.)
How high-speed? Let's say, oh, around 100 miles an hour, and in an area -- Interstate 94 in the Twin Cities metro -- where the signs and curves come at you fast.
2.) Introduce a second intensifying factor. Like a fire. Right in front of your face, and just as you're trying to interact with someone uncooperative at best, and dangerous at worst.
3.) Make the state patrol guy a Minnesotan.
These factors combine to produce the video seen below, published yesterday by the Minnesota State Patrol, which recognized the officers involved for their bravery during both the chase and its aftermath. Officers Troy Carter, Scott Smith, and Mike Lee received the Meritorious Service Award yesterday for keeping their cool during this incident, which occurred one night last May.
For Carter, this happened on his very first shift as a trooper.
After a short chase, the fleeing SUV tries whipping through an exit, and instead careens right off the road, rolling repeatedly down into a field. Approaching the vehicle, the first officer is forced to execute a rapid down-shift in tone.
"Get your fucking hands up!" he screams at the suspect. "DO IT NOW! SHOW ME YOUR HANDS! SHOW ME YOUR FUCKING HANDS!"
Then, just moments later: "Get out of the car, it's on fire."
"Yes sir," says the man.
"Get out," the trooper says, his voice shifting from fury to concern. "Can you get out? Do it now, the car's on fire, man. Get out! C'mon, hop out. Do you need help?"
Listening to the sudden change in his voice, you realize he's transitioned from law enforcement to emergency rescue, just like that. Because you can run from the law, or fight the man.
But no one resists fire.
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