Today we address the PIT maneuver.
The PIT maneuver is a driving tactic employed by members of law enforcement, wherein a pursuing officer's vehicle bumps the backside of a fleeing suspect's vehicle, causing the suspect to lose control, spin out and come to a stop.
PIT stands for "Precision Immobilization Technique." Or maybe it's "Pursuit Immobilization Technique." Or "Pursuit Intervention Technique," "Parallel Immobilization Technique" or "Precision Intervention Tactic."
Nobody seems to know for certain, because all of those terms have been used for the acronym at one time or another.
But whatever you call it, the PIT maneuver is a highly effective method for apprehending getaway drivers. Provided, that is, they drive like your great-grandmother. On Ambien.
As it turns out, a vehicle's got to be going pretty darned slow for law enforcement officers to attempt to PIT it.
This little fact came to light recently following a chase on Interstate 15 that resulted in officers performing a PIT maneuver with the county's new $250,000 BearCat armored vehicle. Because, really, when you've just paid Lamborghini-type prices on a new vehicle, the first thing you want to do is get it in a fender-bender.
Following that incident, Davis County Sheriff Todd Richardson told the Standard-Examiner: "We don't PIT anyone unless they're going under 20 mph."
Come again? If I didn't know any better, I'd think he said "under 20 mph." But surely he meant "over 20 mph," right? I mean, aside from Al Cowlings and O.J. Simpson, who flees the police at that rate of speed?
If law enforcement truly won't PIT anyone doing over 19 miles per hour, I'm sure I speak for everyone who's ever entertained the thought of committing a felony and then fleeing the scene in a vehicle when I say: "Good to know."
It's nice to know that the PIT maneuver is pretty much off the table as long as I don't go near any school zones, drive-up windows or any other place where someone on the sidewalk might actually pass me. In other words, as a fleeing motorist -- in Davis County, at least -- once you make it out of your driveway you're pretty much home free.
While 20 mph may seem a tad conservative (Hey, it's Davis County!), it's certainly not that far off the national average. According to Wikipedia -- aka "The Lazy Journalist's Bible" -- "typical police policy recommends that an officer not attempt the PIT at speeds greater than 35 miles per hour."
Seriously? In all of the PIT maneuvers I've ever seen on YouTube, the drivers seemed like they were going a heck of a lot faster.
Call me crazy, but if a fleeing criminal is doing under 20 mph, I'm pretty sure you don't need the PIT maneuver anyway. At that speed, a moderately conditioned police officer from the bicycle patrol could just ride up alongside the suspect and order, "Pull it over, mac."
Come to think of it, can you even get a vehicle to spin out at less than 20 mph? Somebody call
If Davis County Sheriff's deputies do happen to PIT you, on top of whatever other charges they may file related to your little crime spree -- armed robbery, resisting arrest, driving under the influence -- you're going to have one other little problem on your hands:
Because if you were doing less than 20 mph, given that the speed limit on almost every road in the county is well above that, chances are you're going to get a ticket for impeding traffic, too.
Contact Mark Saal at 801-625-4272 or firstname.lastname@example.org.