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Officer Attempts to Deploy Spike Strips on Three-Lane Interstate

Event Summary

 

A pursuit of a stolen car was traveling N/B on the local interstate. An officer ahead of the pursuit stopped on the inside shoulder, preparing to deploy spike strips as the pursuit neared their location. The suspect, from a distance, observed the officer on the inside shoulder and intentionally steered/veered to the right in an attempt to avoid the spikes. The belief is that, based on the suspect’s actions, the suspect/driver was experienced with and anticipated law enforcement response during the pursuit, thus knowing how to avoid capture/arrest.

As the suspect/driver steered/veered to the right towards the outside shoulder, the officer with the spike strips stepped into the left lane of the three-lane interstate in an attempt to get additional distance on the spike strip in hopes of reaching the suspect/driver who, by now, was driving in the right lane and pushing other motorists off the road. The actions of the officer stepping into the left lane were captured on dashboard camera from another officer’s patrol car traveling in the left lane.

 

Lessons Learned

 

  • The tools we utilize in law enforcement aren’t fail safe. Officers must recognize these tools have a time and place and may not always be a viable option if they unnecessarily risk officer safety. As the driver/suspect moved to the right, spikes were no longer an effective option because of other passing motorists and the fact that it was a three-lane interstate, greatly increasing the risk to the officer deploying the sticks.
  • Suspects who understand and are experienced with law enforcement actions, or those that watch YouTube and Cops on a regular basis, know some common police tactics. Suspects understand how the police use certain tools, so officers must anticipate suspects taking evasive action. Officers must understand their safety is paramount and there are instances when they must retreat and regroup, if necessary.
Changes as a result of that experience (what would you do differently?):

The department’s training unit will review the video of the incident and incorporate the lessons learned into pursuit and spike strip training.

 

Full Report

Officer Attempts to Deploy Spike Strips on Three-Lane Interstate

 

 

Employer Information

 

Type of law enforcement agency: Sheriff’s Office – Full Service

 

Involved Person Info

 

Role: Sworn Officer

Years of experience in law enforcement: Greater than 15 years

 

Incident Information

 

Type of call / Reason for response: Stolen Vehicle

Incident Initiated by: Self Initiated/Observed

Please classify this incident (Check all that apply): Almost resulted in serious injury or death

Incident Summary:

A pursuit of a stolen car was traveling N/B on the local interstate. An officer ahead of the pursuit stopped on the inside shoulder, preparing to deploy spike strips as the pursuit neared their location. The suspect, from a distance, observed the officer on the inside shoulder and intentionally steered/veered to the right in an attempt to avoid the spikes. The belief is that, based on the suspect’s actions, the suspect/driver was experienced with and anticipated law enforcement response during the pursuit, thus knowing how to avoid capture/arrest.

As the suspect/driver steered/veered to the right towards the outside shoulder, the officer with the spike strips stepped into the left lane of the three-lane interstate in an attempt to get additional distance on the spike strip in hopes of reaching the suspect/driver who, by now, was driving in the right lane and pushing other motorists off the road. The actions of the officer stepping into the left lane were captured on dashboard camera from another officer’s patrol car traveling in the left lane.

 

Location Information

 

What type of location was this? Road/Street/Highway

What were the environmental conditions at this location? Outdoor – Daytime (Light)

 

Subject Information

 

Did dispatch inform the involved person of any criminal/warrant/other information about the subject(s)?

No.

 

Lessons Learned

 

Please describe what type of accident or incident was averted:

The officer could have been struck by a vehicle while entering the leftmost lane of the three-lane interstate to deploy the stop sticks.

What were the contributing factors that almost led to or did lead to serious injury or death?

  • Self-discipline
  • Decision-Making

Describe the lessons learned:

  • The tools we utilize in law enforcement aren’t fail safe. Officers must recognize these tools have a time and place and may not always be a viable option if they unnecessarily risk officer safety. As the driver/suspect moved to the right, spikes were no longer an effective option because of other passing motorists and the fact that it was a three-lane interstate, greatly increasing the risk to the officer deploying the sticks.
  • Suspects who understand and are experienced with law enforcement actions, or those that watch YouTube and Cops on a regular basis, know some common police tactics. Suspects understand how the police use certain tools, so officers must anticipate suspects taking evasive action. Officers must understand their safety is paramount and there are instances when they must retreat and regroup, if necessary.

Changes as a result of that experience (what would you do differently?):
The department’s training unit will review the video of the incident and incorporate the lessons learned into pursuit and spike strip training.



How relevant are the lessons learned in this incident to you and/or your agency?
3.00 avg. rating (76% score) - 1 vote

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