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Chesterfield police start PIT maneuver training

Published: Oct. 19, 2021 at 4:26 PM EDT|Updated: Oct. 19, 2021 at 5:54 PM EDT
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CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. (WWBT) - The Chesterfield County Police Department is starting to train their officers on the PIT maneuver, also known as the precision immobilization technique, to stop people who are trying to flee from police.

Sergeant William Rosser says the move was developed by Fairfax County Police in 1986 and adopted by the bump and run technique used in stock car racing.

“Most people have a misconception about what the technique is. They feel like it’s a ramming, it’s a striking, it’s a hitting of a vehicle, and it’s not,” he said. “It’s just a push.”

Police officers in Chesterfield County will join Virginia State Police and departments in Fairfax and Henrico to use this technique.

“When people flee from the police, that’s a dangerous endeavor,” said Chesterfield Police Chief Jeffrey Katz. “If somebody runs from us, we are going to chase you. And if we chase you, we’re now going to PIT you.”

Sgt. Rosser says the department has been researching this maneuver for the last two years as they see an increase in pursuits.

In 2020, Chesterfield police were involved in 124 pursuits, with 33 ending in crashes. This is close to a 78 percent increase from the statistics reported in 2019 when the department was involved in 70 pursuits.

“For us, that’s not acceptable,” said Rosser. “That’s a suspect vehicle potentially running into an innocent civilian that is driving on the road.”

With this technique, the department hopes to not only stop those who are trying to flee from them but to protect drivers trying to get to their destination.

“If we can end it immediately, without it going extended periods of time and getting at a high rate of speed, that’s going to be what our goal is.”

Rosser says driving instructors are being trained on the PIT maneuver first. Once they’re trained, Rosser says they can set up schedules and start their department-wide training next year.

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