In the early years of tire deflation use, deflaters were seen as an alternative to exposing officers and cars to the dangers of roadblocks or other tactical strategies. The idea was to provide a safer tool which could stop a car without collateral damage. The superior safety advantage gave rise to popularity of tire deflaters.
The early users of spikes included, C.H.P. , RCMP, Utah Highway Patrol, all which used this method. The early users had strict areas and due to policy and weight of systems their use was limited, however in an estimated 10k plus uses, they never had a serious incident.
- Spike deployment had a perfect safety record.
- Spikes deployment had distinct strategies for deployment and safety.
- The officers and vehicles were positioned off the road and harms way.
- The deployment location had an element of concealment as to not provoke the driver from avoiding spikes.
Versatile Deployment options
In 1993 new Spike brands and methods were introduced, and very quickly the results were not good. The new procedure was for the officer to target the car with the SPIKES then enter the roadway to retrieve the spikes. Notice the illustration with arrows showing a path around the spikes positioned on the roadway. The officer would deploy and retrieve, then cross back and positioned himself behind cover and protection, Officers and traffic would pass around the spikes.
Today this method has been updated, but in many ways the issues, of product design and accepted practice is still with us. In fact a few agencies have abandoned the use of spikes due to the fatal incidents with Spikes and the FBI created a Safety notice concerning the risk of Spikes.
Realizing its a product design and methods of use to blame, our intention is to define and train with better practice.
Covert Deployment and Retrieval
We do this by going back to what worked, and benefiting from new designs and Technology. In 1980, a Canadian system (Hovey) was introduced which allowed deployment from the curb and retrieval with a cord. In 1990, a Utah state Trooper, Don Kilgrow, developed a system which also provided curbside deployment and operation with an accordion frame.
Spike systems deployed in a covert manner and Spike-Devil’s color scheme and lightweight design improve effectiveness and safety. Accordion framed systems were designed to move along the surface of the road to further enhance concealment and spike the target regardless of his lane of travel. This can be done with an officer better able to use protective cover and concealment.
Tire deflation systems from this era were very durable including the cords attached to them. The systems were designed to take the impacts and still be recovered. A clear roadway did not provoke an adverse reaction by the target or pursuit vehicle officers to avoid spikes.
The problems were made public and the way spikes were used were changed in 1996. A group of Police Chiefs from the I.A.C.P. made recommendations of a retrieval system being required to make for a safer Spike System.
While this was added to systems, the failures continued. Over 20 officers have been hit during the operation of spikes. An alarming statistic is the number of officers hit by other pursuit units, while they are recovering spikes. In this training, we will define and address each issue. We will refer to a standard practice that has provided a perfect safety record.