A common belief is that ease of deployment equal’s effectiveness and safety. The reality is that its a trap in disguise and is the reason for many of the serious incidents associated with Tire Deflation devices.
This diagram shows a window or a time of deployment dictated by traffic, A “point Blank” deployment in this window off opportunity is a risky deployment style which places the officer in close proximity of the target vehicle. Years ago, videos of these deployments would be shown at Trade Shows and used to market the spike product! The manufactures advertised a six second deployment, and most product features are designed to be used in a situation and a deployment style which is risky.
The only safe method of deployment is to deploy from cover and most often that means simply pulling a Spike-Strip into the path of the driver from behind cover. The problem is that deployment style eliminates the need for features that Spike Manufactures market! Yes, the self righting feature, the electronic remote control, lightweight, all are useless when you can simply use protective cover. The other side of that coin, is that those systems and features without protective cover place the officer at risk .
Every promotional video I have seen, has samples of officers deploying spikes without cover and at point blank range. Despite all their features they can not even market a product and represent it in a safe fashion.
We recommend you look at the type of deployment more than the features, and place an emphasis on product features that are covert and do not provoke a reaction by the target vehicle driver and place the officer behind protective cover and were designed to work with safety in mind. Despite this sometimes a curbside deployment in this small window is required and we will start at what features helps in such a deployment.
Sliding versus Throwing a Spike System
Sliding is a more effective way at deploying a system with the idea of not provoking a reaction from the driver of the Target vehicle. Spike-Devil is designed to slide across the surface of the road, by being pulled towards you or slid away from you which we call a curbside deployment. In the diagram above the window of deployment is a very short time, but an officer from cover can pull any Spike-Strip into position and also can adjust it if the lane of travel is changed. Most ANY spike system can be deployed this way,
Spike-Devil can be slid or pulled form a distance and place into position in the pursuit in a covert fashion. Spike-Devil has the safety advantage of distance, and time advantage of elimination of what we call POST Deployment Adjustments. (PDA)
Caddywhompus deployment versus A.L.E.C.
Manufactures point at each other claiming to be superior in deployment, but over look one critical problem. The company which claims triple sided performance, when deployed has to be deployed, then re-adjusted to stretch the system out in the path of the roadway and to target the vehicle. Lack of time prevents this, and if you do have time, often a system is jerked into place causing it to collapse on itself again. This second adjustment means the officer must deploy the Spikes, then operate the Cord-Reel and then pull to open up the Spikes. Accordion type spikes are designed to open up maximum width on initial deployment. To eliminate a critical problem, called POST Deployment Adjustments.
A.L.E.C. is a patented concept, where the Spike-Devil system is ratcheted in the links, and when fully opened locks into position and stays extended in the path of the vehicle. Accordion systems have this advantage of opening up like this but Spike-Devil by Spike-Strip mfg. has the Patent and exclusive on this feature.
U.P.S.D. is another patented concept, while Spike-Devil is designed to slide, if it slides it cant flip upside down. Despite this, my years of experience taught me that sometimes deflaters were flipped upside down and that the spikes would penetrate the plastic and sometimes go into the tire. Spike-Devil adopted a longer collar along the spike and a thin bottom surface so the spike would travel straight, puncture the bottom surface and penetrate the tire. UPSD does not mean double sided, and like double sided systems it’s effectiveness is limited to the roadway surface and the strip is damaged.
A good portion of the incidents with spikes were due to a Cord-Reel that had failed, and was not used or failed during use and an officer or in one case officers entered the roadway to recover spikes and were fatally struck. We were asked by a department to make a Cord-Reel that was indestructible and serviceable. We came out with the toughest one on the market and with the big mouth service port. When they saw it, they said it was like a Fisher-Price toy, you could not destroy it, and it was easy to use and service.