HOUSTON - Police are hoping a new tactic will help improve public safety on the streets of Houston by implementing a tactic called the PIT Maneuver, and it’s something officers have not been able to use during police chases for years.
When the seconds turn to minutes; sometimes those minutes tick in to hours.
“When they flee in a reckless manner, without regard to the safety of the officers or public around them and someone dies there's only one person responsible for that and that's that suspect," Chief Art Acevedo said.
They’re crazed, and often careless. Roughly five lives are taken a year as a result of high speed chases.
“We’re doing this because the safety of our officers matters to us. The safety of our community really matters to us," Acevedo said.
But now police are hitting the brakes, quite literally, and are taking a new approach to stop those who run.
It’s called the PIT Maneuver, where the officer pursuing taps the suspect's vehicle causing them to spin out.
“Obviously we will do it at a very strategic time, at specific speeds," Acevedo said.
And fighting to implement the technique is why former police officer Thomas Nixon says he lost his job years ago.
“There was an unnecessary fear in the legal services staff for the police department in the City of Houston that this was going to open the door to lawsuits," Nixon said.
Which he says is a non-issue, as the officers would have immunity.
"When and if they’re using proper, necessary and reasonable force in the course and scope of their employment as police officers," Nixon said.
He agrees with the chief, and says the move may even make those who wish to run think twice.
“Where they probably won't want to run in a vehicle, and if they do they know it wont be for very long," Nixon said.
Each officer has to undergo a ten hour class for the training. After that, they can practice the PIT Maneuver on the streets of Houston.