Suspected Intruder at 235 Oakdale Street

A You-Decide ShadowBox Exercise

Welcome to our featured scenario of the month! We use this format to share a unique scenario that highlights an interesting problem, an emerging topic, or a new scenario format. As you read through the scenario, think carefully about how you would handle the situation – what stands out to you, what do you think is going on, and what would your priorities be if you found yourself in this situation?

The scenario below is a new format for us, based on the concept of a choose-your-own-adventure book. Each decision you make affects the way the story continues. Make sure to download the file at the bottom of the page to see how your decisions would play out in this situation.

Chapter 1

You are working the overnight shift, on patrol in an older part of the city characterized by residential neighborhoods, small strip malls, family restaurants and some small businesses. It is a clear, cool night, about 50 degrees. At 12:37a.m. you receive a call about a “possible burglary in process at 235 Oakdale St.”

You recall there has been a string of burglaries in this area over the last month. In each case the burglaries occurred between 9:00 and 11:00p.m. and the residents were away from home. The burglars gained entrance by jimmying a back door or garage door. In each case, they seemed to limit themselves to the first floor and took what was readily available, typically smaller electronics (smart phones, stereo components, computers, laptops, small televisions, etc.). You are just moments away. Dispatch reports that a woman is upstairs in bed reporting hearing noises from downstairs. She has two young children, ages 2 and 4, asleep down the hall. Her husband is out of town on business. You know the address. Oakdale is a quiet, older residential street. Street lights. Some young families but mostly retirees. Middle class. Traditional two-story houses on small, usually fenced-in lots. Detached garages near the back of the lot. Lots of mature trees and shrubs that could provide concealment.

Officer Tupper reports he is also responding, about 5-10 minutes out.

Figure 1

You approach north on Teabury and turn right onto Oakdale. 235 will be 2-3 houses down on the left. As soon as you make the turn you notice a figure visible in the streetlight near 235. Dark pants, dark hoody, male from the body type and the way he is moving. The male is jogging slowly towards you, but once you appear, he abruptly changes direction and starts running the opposite direction.

What are you going to do?

  1. I will apprehend the suspect for questioning.
  2. I’m going to let the suspect go and continue to 235 Oakdale.