This technology could prevent police pursuit-related deaths
Too many cops have been killed or injured attempting to deploy roadside tire deflation devices. This technology is aimed at preventing those deaths
More than 5,000 bystanders and passengers have been killed in police vehicle pursuits since 1979, according to an analysis by USA Today of National Highway Traffic Safety Administration data.
For years, one of the options for ending a high-speed vehicle pursuit has been the use of "spike strips." Tossed into the road from the shoulder, these tools have helped bring countless pursuits to an end, but there are inherent risks associated with their use.
The toll of pursuits has also included officers. Too many cops have been killed or injured while attempting to deploy roadside tire deflation devices.
Soon, disabling a fleeing car may be done from the safety of the police cruiser — a new technology called MobileSpike has been developed in an effort to save lives of law enforcement, innocent bystanders, and suspects.
Weighing about 16 pounds and consisting of a combination push bumper and mechanical arm, MobileSpike is mounted to the front bumper of the squad car. When the decision is made to deploy the system, the officer moves up alongside the suspect vehicle with the front bumper ahead of the rear tire — the positioning of the squad very similar to that trained in the Pursuit Intervention Technique (PIT maneuver).
The driver of the squad then activates the system with a dash-mounted button, and the arm extends with a flexible spiking strip attached at the end. The officer applies the brakes and the spiking strip goes under the tires. The arm retracts automatically back into the push bumper mounting when the activation button is released.
MobileSpike’s tire puncturing device is "engineered for controlled deflation and can safely end a car chase in less than 60 seconds," according to the company.
In addition, they say that the device can safely end pursuits of a fleeing vehicle at speeds of 15 to 120 mph, and can be mounted to deploy on either the left or the right side of the squad. The spike itself is a quill that allows air to flow out of the tire of a fleeing vehicle over 30-50 seconds rather than popping the tire.
Raymond Moss, a 25-year veteran of the Washington State Patrol who now serves as director of law enforcement training at MobileSpike Technologies, told PoliceOne, "I was on the phone with friend and entrepreneur Michael Moormeier while a Discovery Channel law enforcement reality TV show played in the background. The show was dramatizing a high speed pursuit and describing the tactics for ending it."
Moss explained to Moormeier the various tactics he’d used to end pursuits — including the PIT maneuver and manually throwing a spike strip. Moormeier observed that there should be a safer way to end a high speed chase than standing by the side of the road ahead of a fleeing suspect, waiting to throw a spike strip in front of the vehicle at just the right moment.
"From that discussion, a new technology startup and life-saving device was born," Moss said.
After the prototype was created, Moss joined the company to help test and install the product. The company enlisted the help of police departments in Alaska, Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Michigan and Washington.
"These locations allowed us to test how climate such as heat, snow, ice, humidity and rain as well as various terrains would impact performance," Moss said.
The company says their pilot study found the device disabled fleeing vehicles faster in all terrains and climates.
Growing the Company
The company isn’t ready to sell MobileSpike to law enforcement agencies yet. It is working to raise the capital needed to manufacture the device and build a sales and training team. To do that, MobileSpike Technologies is selling equity through a crowdfunding campaign — a unique approach to building the foundations of an up-and-coming law enforcement manufacturing company.
This is different than the popular reward-funding programs like KickStarter and Indiegogo. MobileSpike can sell equity to non-accredited investors in increments as small as $50.
"So each investor owns a portion of stock the company which can be redeemed when MobileSpike Technologies is sold to another company or goes public," said Moormeier.
Investment levels vary depending on the income level or net worth of the investor. The income-based investment caps serve as a safeguard to prevent an individual from losing their entire life savings. The equity crowdfunding for MobileSpike is powered by the Flashfunders platform.
Law Enforcement Support
Moormeier said the company wants to provide first responders with an early option to invest in their company.
"The marketing and 'crowfunding' efforts are focused primarily at law enforcement, their families, and supporters because they deserve to benefit monetarily from an innovation designed to keep them safe. Owning a piece of a promising company is no-longer the province of the wealthy," Moormeier said.
"The hope is that one thousand of our law enforcement family will invest $1,000 each to help bring this device to the world. If you are reading this, we want you to be our partner," Moss said.