June 25, 2024

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Tire Deflation Device Deployment Safety

 
Gordon Graham
Category: Law Enforcement

Gordon Graham here with Today’s Tip from Lexipol. Today I want to talk to my law enforcement friends about tire deflation devices – TDDs.

Deploying TDDs is certainly dangerous. Be sure to consider the risk versus reward when deciding whether to safely deploy these devices during a pursuit.

We all know that vehicle pursuits are dangerous. The main issue centers on suspect intentions. We simply don’t know what’s going on in that person’s head. TDDs were developed to reduce the risks of dangerous police pursuits. In a perfect world, an officer deploys a TDD ahead of a fleeing suspect. The suspect drives over the device, which flattens one or more of the vehicle’s tires, bringing the pursuit to an end. End of story, right?

Not necessarily. The use of TDDs comes with risks. Since 2000, more than 40 law enforcement officers have been killed deploying TDDs, and many more than that have been injured, including by paralysis and dismemberment. And one-fifth of those officers were struck by other police personnel. In some cases, the suspect was traveling at least 100 MPH when the TDD was deployed. Think about your reaction time when two tons of metal and glass is wheeled in your direction at almost 150 feet per second! Changes the perspective, doesn’t it?

Now listen, I’m not saying TDDs aren’t useful. These devices can be effective when deployed properly. Just be aware of their limitations. Ever hear the phrase, you play like you practice? Many officers only receive initial training on the use of these tools. And that training typically takes place in a controlled environment. The time to test your strategy isn’t on an interstate highway where higher speeds are likely.

If you choose to deploy a TDD, here are some things to consider. First, the TDD should only affect the suspect’s vehicle. Make sure you communicate your intentions to other responding units. Secondly, only deploy TDDs from a location with adequate cover and an escape route. This is where you are the most vulnerable. Finally, don’t forget to consider policy limitations on vehicles such as motorcycles or vehicles carrying hazardous materials.

Deploying TDDs is certainly dangerous. Be sure to consider the risk versus reward when deciding whether to safely deploy these devices during a pursuit.

And that’s Today’s Tip from Lexipol. Until next time, Gordon Graham signing off.

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