Law enforcement tech isn’t something that I follow very closely (that is to say, at all), but I came across a piece of equipment that I know about, but to which I”ve never given much thought. So purely in the vein of “that’s kind of neat” let’s talk about tire deflation devices.
Say police are chasing a fleeing suspect by car. One of the fastest ways to stop or slow the car is to pop the suspect’s tires with a strip of spikes that gets manually rolled out across the road in the path of the vehicle. But what about the cars behind the suspects? The officer who deployed the device has to get whatever popped the suspect’s tires out of the way of oncoming traffic – namely the police vehicles in pursuit – without compromising her own safety. She has to pull the strips back quickly, and officers have died while attempting to remove them. Think about coordination of communication between the pursuing officers and the officer running the spike strips. And the stress for the pursuing officer about whether the strips will be off the road in time for them to safely pass.
A company called Pacific Scientific Energetic Materials Company has released a product called Nighthawk that makes the process safer. The strips are deployed by remote control in less than two seconds, and can be retracted remotely just as quickly. After setting the unit up near the road, the officer can retreat to a safe distance for deployment and retraction.
It’s pretty neat to watch in action:
Technology for the win!