Safe Deployment of Spike Strips

spike strips

This California police chase ends without injury. ©2009 Dan Dawson

Four law enforcement officers have been killed this year while trying to deploy spike strips (aka Stop Sticks) during a vehicle chase.  We’ve talked about spike strips and police officer deaths previously, and have offered some suggestions on the safe deployment of the devices.

Dale Stockton of Law Officer magazine offers eight safety tips for spike strip deployment.  One of his suggestions is one that I know I previously left out:  practice.

As with any action we take in law enforcement, practice is second only to experience in producing the desired results.  This holds true for courtroom testimony, witness interviews, handcuffing and using spike strips to terminate a pursuit.

Neither time nor money seem to be in abundance at any police department right now, yet if we are to safely use tire deflation devices to terminate pursuits, regular training should be a requirement.

Like firearms training, spike strip training should be done in all lighting and weather conditions.  Practice in bright, sunny conditions trains you for ending pursuits that take place on bright, sunny days.  Darkness, rain, snow and wind can all affect how an officer safely deploys spike strips.  Make sure you train in those conditions.

Read all of Stockton’s article at

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Richard Johnson is a gun writer, police trainer and really bad joke teller. Check out his other writing on sites like Human Events, The Firearm Blog and Police & Security News.

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