LITTLE ROCK, Ar. — The debate over dangerous PIT maneuvers by Arkansas state police arrives at the state capitol.
This is just months after the Working 4 You investigation first reported about a pit maneuver used on a pregnant woman on an Arkansas highway.
On Wednesday, Arkansas State Police showed numbers proving the PIT maneuver tactic has been used more often but they also said there’s an increase in road rage incidents, along with car chases.
It’s a risk that Arkansas State police said could “save lives.”
“The longer a pursuit goes, the greater the change or injury or death to the public,” Arkansas State Police Colonel Bill Bryant said.
The Working 4 You investigation collected dashcam videos showing the moments where state troopers used the PIT maneuver.
PIT stands for Precision Immobilization Technique. It’s when a trooper will intentionally hit and spin out drivers.
“I realized PITS have gone up,” Chief Legal Counsel for the Department of Public Safety, Cody Hiland said. “And you can’t remove wet from water and you can’t remove risk from law enforcement sometimes it’s messy.”
The Working 4 You investigation revealed the tactic happening more often to stop fleeing drivers.
“It’s just one of the tools in the toolbox,” Bryant said. “No vehicle pursuit is the same and there’s not a silver bullet to this.”
Bryant explained this to state leaders at the state capitol Wednesday during a hearing.
According to Bryant, there’s been an increase in the technique but there’s also an influx in car chases across Arkansas.
“For the last five years we’ve seen a significant increase in pursuits, from 2015 to 2020 we’ve seen statewide a 90 percent increase in vehicle pursuits,” Bryant said
In 2019, there were 339 chases and PIT was used 96 times. In 2020, 505 chases and PIT were used 165 times. So far in 2021, as of October 30 there have been 376 chases and PIT has been used 97 times.
“We have to use reasonable force and use the right technique to whatever tool it is to stop it and protect Arkansans,” Bryant said.
There are other techniques like, hallow spike strips or the rolling roadblock that can be used but it all depends on what the trooper decides on in that typical split-second decision.