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How one cop invented a way to avoid high-speed pursuits

Police pursuits are inherently dangerous. Here’s a new tool developed by a California cop that can help avoid them.


The following is paid content sponsored by XHAUSTR.

By PoliceOne BrandFocus Staff

Pursuits are dangerous for cops and civilians. A suspect isn’t playing by the rules of the road, so officers have to focus on how the suspect’s driving may affect the officer’s ability to accomplish the overall mission: to safeguard lives and protect property.

Police pursuits are inherently dangerous. (Image Portland Police)
Police pursuits are inherently dangerous. (Image Portland Police)

The officer must factor in the balance between the types of offense and need to immediately apprehend created by the suspect’s driving and the potential dangers, and the influence of their own actions on the suspect’s driving. On top of this, the officer also must consider the likelihood of apprehending the suspect.

According to a FBI Bulletin on police pursuits, one person dies every day as a result of a police pursuit. One officer was killed every 6 weeks in 2010, according to another report.

“The statistics are very telling,” said Capt. Gary Berg, a 20-year veteran with the Campbell (Calif.) Police Department and founder of XHAUSTR. “Pursuits hurt cops and put the public at risk.”

The XHAUSTR Solution

After getting into pursuits as an officer and seeing risks become reality, Berg sought out a solution that could eliminate dangerous pursuits altogether.

“I knew there had to be a better way of doing it,” he said.

That was five years ago. Berg has since founded a robust public-safety solutions company and launched its flagship pursuit-alternative product: the XHAUSTR, a 10-pound toolkit that offers a new way to stop pursuits before they even begin.

The XHAUSTR works by literally plugging the exhaust pipe – similar to Axel Foley’s famous ‘banana in the tail pipe’ gag from ‘Beverly Hills Cop’ (but a lot more sophisticated).

It comes in a kit that includes oblong, expandable – and reusable – devices that are inserted into a vehicle’s tail pipe. The device is expanded with a ratchet that includes a built-in LED light for installation in dark conditions.

As the ratchet tightens, it seals the tail pipe to prevent exhaust from escaping. Because the intake of oxygen into the engine is limited, no combustion can occur.

When the car is started, the exhaust is unable to escape and the car stalls.

Quick to install, easy to remove

Berg said the XHAUSTR takes about 15 seconds to deploy.

It’s just as easy to remove. When the suspect is taken into custody, a small valve is used to release the back pressure, then the ratchet is used to remove the device. It is removed from the tail pipe and the car starts right back up causing no damage.

The kit includes three different-sized devices, fitting vehicles ranging from small sedans like Honda Civics to larger trucks and SUVs. The kit comes with two of each size in part because dual-exhaust vehicles require one for each tail pipe.

There is a mini-torch included in the kit that helps get the device back in shape for the next deployment, Berg said.

The XHAUSTR tool lets officers put an end to most pursuits, Berg said. It also reduces liability by not putting officers and civilians at risk.

“From an administration point of view, it is huge because there is the liability component for pursuits,” he said. “Even though there is no pursuit with the XHAUSTR, it provides a unique opportunity to make the arrest, before the suspect even knows what's going on.”

The XHAUSTR changes how police manage the perils of high-speed pursuits and puts the power back in officers’ hands.

For more information, visit XHAUSTR.

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