Local News

Booby Trap Injures Fayetteville Police Officer

Posted August 27, 1997 12:00 a.m. EDT

— Police officers know chasing down bad guys is a dangerous business. It's what they expect when they put on the badge. But a Fayetteville police officer was never prepared for what he ran into chasing some hit and run suspects. He even has the scars to prove it.

It's just one example of what police in Fayetteville have to deal with. A wooded area may look pretty safe at first glance. But after a closer look, razor wire and barbed wire are hidden in the trees. It's the kind of trap officers can find when they least expect it.

Police officers see it all. But it's what they can't see that has them worried. Officer Tracy Campbell hit the wire so hard, a piece broke up in his forehead.

One night last week Officer Campbell chased a group of teens accused in a hit and run. That's when he ran into a booby trap.

"If I would have been just a little taller, it would have gotten me in the throat, and that piece of wire that broke off in my head would have broke off in my throat."

Campbell needed 17 stitches, but the cuts are still visible. The scary thing is that last week's incident is Campbell's second close call with booby traps set up by criminals, often drug dealers, to keep police away. What makes the traps so dangerous is that you can't see the danger.

"It's like a cat and mouse game," Campbell says. "They want us to chase them and try to catch them so when they have stuff like this rigged up."

So why don't the police just tear the traps down? Campbell says it's because the traps will be put up in different places. The booby traps may be intended for police officers but anyone can get hurt.

"Even citizens that are out need to be careful where they go because if you walk into something like this whether you're walking or running you're going to get hurt seriously."

It's not just wires that can catch officers. Sometimes people will do things like dig holes then cover them up with leaves and debris. So if you know where they are, you can make your way around. Those people who don't can easily twist or break an ankle. While officers are concerned about their safety, one of their biggest fears is what could happen if kids run into the traps.