CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. — Chesterfield County Police said they're now training officers to use a new technique when they're in pursuit of fleeing drivers.
“If you’re in Chesterfield County or you believe you’re in Chesterfield County and you see blue lights, and you flee from us, please know we will be employing the PIT maneuver," said Chesterfield Police Chief Jeffrey Katz.
The PIT maneuver, or the "Precision Immobilization Technique," requires an officer to safely maneuver their car against a suspect's, forcing them to spin and come to a complete stop safely.
Katz said Henrico County is one of the other local departments using this technique.
"We are not ramming or hitting vehicles. This is intervention, immobilization of a suspect vehicle," instructor Bill Roshlick said.
Katz said within the last year, there’s been a 78% increase in people fleeing from police — a statistic that's been growing for the last five years.
“Specifically between 2016 and 2020, we’ve seen a 119% increase in people fleeing unlawful traffic stops," Katz added.
Within 2020 alone, there were 123 pursuits. So, officers in Chesterfield said the training is now more important than ever to prevent criminals from getting away and innocent lives from being taken.
“Last year there were 33 crashes as a result of a police pursuit. For us, that’s not acceptable. That’s a suspect vehicle running into an innocent civilian running down the road," Roshlick said.
"It’s our responsibility to make sure we do that in a way that’s safe and we’re training all of our staff to do that," Katz added.