Tire deflation devices help put an end to pursuits
By Travis Yates
Product development within law enforcement has grown dramatically in the last decade. Mobile laptops, in-car digital video recorders and other tech advances have quickly become the norm in law enforcement. The recent deaths of two Palm Beach County, Fla. deputies while using tire deflation devices have brought up significant questions about the methods and technology used to stop pursuits. This is not the first time the questions have come up.
On July 31, 2007, California Highway Patrol Officer Douglas Russell was struck and killed by a car while he was attempting to deploy tire deflation devices; and on July 9, 2003, two Tennessee Deputies were both killed when they were struck deploying devices. There have also been incidents of officers being struck and killed by other officers while retrieving tire deflation devices. On January 3, 2003, Davis County Iowa Deputy Dennis McElderry became the first deputy in that agency to die in the line of duty when he was struck by another patrol car while deploying tire deflation devices. On September 12, 2005, Arkansas State Trooper Mark Carthron was killed by another trooper as he tried to retrieve tire deflation devices.
It does seem rather odd that in today’s technology-driven environment, the two predominant methods to end pursuits are a string attached to hollow tubes (tire deflation devices) and a technique that pushes one car into another (tactical vehicle intervention).
I’ve seen numerous ideas and examples of methods to enhance and improve the safety of deploying tire deflation devices. Some are currently available while others are still in the developmental stage. Regardless, the ideas are there and hopefully additional safety will follow.
Mobile Deployment Systems
Fort Bend County (TX) Sheriff Milton Wright knows the importance of this system.
“In Fort Bend our policy is to stop the cars as soon as possible by whatever means we need. With all 77 of our vehicles outfitted with Mobile Deployment tire deflation units, we now have the element of surprise on our side,” he said.
An important feature of this device is its unique self-decommissioning spikes that “turn off” once the suspect’s vehicle is struck. This prevents tire damage to other vehicles that may be on the road at the same time. Mobile Deployment Systems offers a five year warranty on manufacturer defects and they will replace a unit for free in the first year if used in a pursuit.
Hidden Vehicle Interceptor
With spike strips located in a contained unit sitting next to the road, the push of a remote controlled button up to 500 feet away can quickly deploy the spike strip in front of the suspect vehicle. Once struck, the spikes pull from the magnetic strip and stay with the tire they have punctured. Spikes can be manually replaced for additional use and the Hidden Vehicle Interceptor comes with a one year warranty on the parts.
That attitude will benefit law enforcement well into the future and that future is indeed bright.
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