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Citizen's Police Academy: Week 5

CEDAR RAPIDS, IA (CBS 2/FOX 28) -- From pop culture, to real life, the sight alone of a police chase can be enthralling.

Just watching one on TV, gets your blood pumping and your adrenaline racing - but it's anything but a joyride.

I'm not gonna lie to you, they're dangerous for the officer, they're dangerous for the public, says Officer John McDaniel with the Cedar Rapids Police Department. But we have to have that.

A lot goes into determining whether an officer pursues a suspect, including time, place and circumstance.

For example, unless a suspect is wanted for a murder, you wouldn't chase them through a school zone at dismissal time. McDaniel says that changes the deeper you go into rural, less populated areas.

Highway 30, minimal traffic, they may be doing 90, 100 miles an hour, are you going to chase - yes.

We learned that the need for speed comes with a lot of practice - practice in keeping themselves and the public safe.

Better here that they learn than out on the street, McDaniel says.

Which brings us to the obstacle course at Hawkeye Downs. Academy students took turns getting behind the wheel and trying their hand at a course similar to what officers train in.

Their goal is to make it through - and avoid the orange cones at all costs.

As much fun as it was, we hope that this is as close to that adrenaline rush as we get. At the end of the day, its better to be in the car with an officer, than to be pursued by one.
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