MADISON, Wis. - When the search for Joseph Jakubowski led to a wooded area in rural Vernon County, law enforcement officers used a drone owned by the Middleton Police Department to get a visual confirmation.
“I think drones are playing a bigger role in situations like this. I think it provides a tactical advantage to the officers that they can see potential escape routes, and they can see areas that might be safer and advantageous for them to set up in,” says Brian Landers, the chair of the criminal justice department at Madison College.
Landers is also the instructor for a class in the use of drones at Madison College. Many of the people who have taken that class are law enforcement officers from around the state.
“The drone gets eyes on the person and the environment without threatening any law enforcement officer there and the subject,” says Landers.
The peaceful capture of Jakubowski was the result of well-planned and collaborative efforts of several law enforcement agencies.
“It is not something that they just get a group of officers together and say, let’s go get him,” says Landers.
He says law enforcement officers would have developed a detailed plan that included a series of contingencies depending on Jakubowski’s actions.
“There are a lot of strategies, a lot of psychology go into the application of the tactics in trying to get him out,” says Landers.
Part of that strategy includes assuring the suspect has no viable options for escape and understands law enforcement has the ability to exercise considerable force.
“The police show of force is a psychological component to the person as well, especially a person who has been on the run, who may be getting tired. They realize they are not going to be able to escape, and potentially fighting their way out, or even attempting to use force against law enforcement is not going to end well for them.”
The final piece to the puzzle includes giving the individual their one and only way out of the situation.
“There is a combination of a show of force, but on the flip side of that, there’s also the reassuring words that if the person follows commands and gives himself up peacefully, nobody is going to get hurt, and everybody is going to walk away," he said.