Dallas police are banning spike strips out of concern that an officer may be hurt or killed while trying to use the devices, reports the Dallas Morning News. There's an increasing awareness that tire-deflation devices, once thought to be a useful tool, can be dangerous: Five police officers died last year in the U.S. as they were trying to stop fleeing vehicles with them. “It's an officer-safety issue,” said Dallas police Assistant Chief Mike Genovesi. “In a perfect world they can be effective, but I have seen too many instances where the reality that we live in is far from that. There's a lot of danger, a lot of safety issues with them.”
The devices, including a popular brand called “Stops Stick,” are stretched across the roadway and deflate tires when a car drives over them. Among officers killed was a Beaumont officer struck by a fleeing vehicle as he tried to retrieve spike strips from his trunk. Another was a Michigan officer who died after a fleeing bank robbery suspect hit him as he tried to put the strips in the roadway. Harvey Hedden of the International Law Enforcement Educators and Trainers Association said that while there's an inherent danger to police work with the use of almost any tool, good training and supervision are keys to using those tools successfully.