Putting your life at risk

Raissa Tetanish
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AMHERST - Although a bystander was able to stop a bank robber last week, local police aren't recommending it happen every time.

Ian Naylor, the deputy chief for the Amherst Police Department, acknowledges Mark Pollard for his actions Tuesday morning during a robbery at the TD Bank downtown, but said if lives aren't at risk, one should let the police take the risk.

"What he did was brave and courageous, but we don't recommend it in general," said Naylor.

"He reacted and it was a positive outcome, but it's not always like that."

Tuesday morning, Pollard was inside the bank replacing a photocopier when a man, identified as Roy Joseph Warham, approached a teller and said he had an explosive device before demanding money.

On the man's way out the door, Pollard followed him and tackled him into the snow. He held onto the man until police arrived.

"If it's property, property can be replaced. Lives can't," said Naylor, noting people that tend to react in the spur of the moment often realize later on that maybe it wasn't the best move.

"As a police officer, there have been certain times when I've done something while on duty and thought about it later and realized I should have done it differently," Naylor said.

"If no one's lives are at risk, let the police take the risk. Let the police do their job. That's what we get paid to do."

Naylor said the best way for people caught in a situation such as a bank robbery to lend a hand is to make observations and tell police.

"If the person is talking, listen to see if there is a distinction in what they say and in their speech," he said.

Other things bystanders can do is pay attention to what the suspect is wearing, what direction they headed in, and even to make note of the person's height.

"If the person leaves through a door, pick out a mark on the door that registers their height," he said.

He added that if one has access to writing utensils, they write down what happened as soon as they can while it's still fresh in their memory.

Organizations: Amherst Police Department, TD Bank

Geographic location: AMHERST

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