AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF)– Richmond County deputies are now trained with a new method to end high speed chases–You may have heard of “P.I.T.” maneuvers, where law enforcement bumps a car in a chase.
The technique will increase public safety by ending chases before becoming anymore dangerous.
The sheriff’s office is one of the only local agencies, besides Georgia State patrol, using the PIT, or Precision Immobilization Technique.
The P.I.T. technique is new to Richmond County, but it’s actually been used by other law enforcement agencies for quite some time.
“It’s not the catch all, do it all the time, as far as our policy goes. It’s kind of a last resort thing. We try to use other techniques such as stop sticks,” said Corporal Russell Schaffer.
Six Richmond County Sheriff deputies received P.I.T. training at the Georgia Public Safety Training Center in Forsythe.
Schaffer, a sheriff’s office veteran of nearly 20 years, says 90% of the training was spent in a car. He and fellow deputies performed the technique 40 times in training– they pitted other vehicles and also experienced what it’s like to be pitted.
“Kinda fun being spun around a few times. You get a little dizzy towards the end of the day, but it was a very good class, and believe it or not, it makes you more confident in your driving skills,” Schaffer said.
P.I.T. bars were recently installed on the six police cars. Schaffer explained the P.I.T. bars are a combination of heavy-duty steel bars and wide rubber strips that absorb shock without damaging the frame.
Schaffer said he and his team will only P.I.T. a fleeing suspect for serious felonies, such as armed robbery or drinking while driving.
“We don’t pit vehicles towing trailers, motorcycles, things like that. Some vehicles are larger.. obviously I can’t pit a tractor trailer with a dodge charger,” Schaffer explained.
He said fortunately, he and his team have not had to perform the maneuver, yet.
“We have to have a good reason to pit the car, and the deputy that performs the pit takes the responsibility for the pit,” Schaffer concluded.