Contributed by Sheriff Oscar Carillo
Culberson County Sheriff Oscar Carrillo met with Captain Luis Najera from the El Paso division of the Texas Department of Public Safety, to discuss safe options for terminating vehicle pursuits. Sheriff Carrillo reported that there have been three recent pursuits that originated from vehicles fleeing the U.S. Border Patrol Checkpoint in Sierra Blanca and were terminated in Culberson County.
Up to this point, pursuits usually ended after the vehicles were bumped off the roadway by law enforcement, or after having their tires shot in an attempt to deflate them. Although both techniques are recognized as effective and legal, law enforcement officials are sometimes hesitant to use them because of potential liability and safety issues associated with high-speed chases. As such, the donation of three sets of Stinger Spikes will be a welcome addition to the Sheriff’s department arsenal, and represent equipment that had been on the department’s wish list, but had not been purchased because of the cost involved.
The Stinger Spike System® allows law enforcement officers to control high-speed pursuit situations by stopping fleeing vehicles effectively, reliably, and safely. The Stinger system employs high strength, hollow steel spikes that penetrate all types of tires – including self-sealing and run-flats – and deflate them in a regulated manner. This prevents blowouts, slows the perpetrator’s vehicle to a safer rate of speed, and allows him to make a controlled stop. Stinger spikes are effective on all types of vehicles, including cars, trucks, and buses.
Captain Najera also offered training in the use of the spikes as part of the DPS contribution. While safer than the first two options mentioned, there is still a danger to the law enforcement officer who has to physically throw the spikes in front of the vehicle being pursued and then remove them to prevent other vehicles’ tires from being damaged. Deflation usually takes about 10 to 20 seconds, with the hollow spikes controlling the deflation rate preventing dangerous blowouts.