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Manhunt (law enforcement)

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Title: Manhunt (law enforcement)  
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Subject: Counter-terrorism, Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 2008, Afghan War prisoner escapes, Mountjoy Prison helicopter escape
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Manhunt (law enforcement)

In law enforcement, a manhunt is an extensive and thorough search for a wanted and dangerous fugitive involving the use of police units, technology, and help from the public.

A manhunt is conducted when the suspect believed to be responsible for a serious crime is at large and is believed to be within a certain area. Any police units within reach of the area will then participate in the search, each covering parts of the area. The officers will, if possible, form a perimeter around the area, guarding any and all possible escape routes from the containment.

A manhunt may have one of the following outcomes:

  • The successful capture of the suspect within the area of the manhunt
  • Escape from the area by the suspect, followed by plans by other law enforcement agencies to search for the suspect elsewhere
  • The search being called off, if police determine the chances of catching the suspect are minimal

Also, if the fugitive resists using deadly force with the law enforcement officers, they are typically authorized to respond in kind.

Fugitive manhunt agencies and organizations

Public involvement

Sometimes, police departments conducting manhunts will solicit help from the public in locating the suspect. They will do this by broadcasting a description and other information on television, radio, and other public media, by going door to door and asking individuals if they have seen the suspect, and by placing wanted posters in public places.

When this happens, citizens are advised not to personally confront the suspect, but rather to call police and report their sightings.

One type of manhunt for which public participation is normally sought is an AMBER Alert. In an Amber Alert, the main purpose of the mission is to rescue the victim, ahead of the capture of the suspect. The public is usually given notice of an Amber Alert through additional forms of media, including highway overhead signs and text messaging.

If anyone is found aiding the suspect in any way, such as helping the suspect in hiding, or providing false information to the police about the suspect, may face legal consequences themselves, even being charged for the same crime as the suspect.

Notable manhunts

Bombing suspects

Prison escapees

Famous fictional manhunts

See also


  1. ^ Richey, Warren (22 October 2009). "US strikes at Mexican cartel's drug-and-gun trade". The Christian Science Monitor. 
  2. ^ Pilkington, Ed (23 October 2009). "Crackdown on La Familia cartel leads to more than 300 arrests across US". The Guardian. 
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