La Crosse Police train to stop fleeing vehicles safely - WXOW News 19 La Crosse, WI – News, Weather and Sports |

La Crosse Police train to stop fleeing vehicles safely

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La Crosse, WI (WXOW) -

Police officers expect when they conduct a traffic stop the motorist will abide by their instructions. However, some don't, and sometimes, that leads to a chase.

Officers hope training they learned Wednesday comes in handy.

P.I.T., or pursuit immobilization technique, is a tactic used to make a car turn sideways and stop.

"If a traffic stop turns into a vehicle pursuit, it's one tool the police department has in order to end the pursuit," Tony DeLap with the La Crosse Police Department said. 

It sounds easy in practice, but Sgt. Tom Walsh explains there's a lot going through the mind of the driver to pull the move off. 

"It's about matching up and making sure those vehicles match up so we're causing as minimal damage as possible when we do this," he said.

Officers begin by practicing lining up to the ideal place for performing the maneuver. Then, they get behind the wheel practicing the line up again.

Finally, it's go time.

DeLap says you must break what you've been taught in driving school when trying to stop the fleeing driver. 

"We really emphasize first of all matching the speed of the suspect vehicle," DeLap starts off. "You want to make gentle contact with the front corner panel of the squad with the rear corner panel of the suspect vehicle."

"After the contact is made, you're going to input a quarter turn, accelerate and the vehicle will spin around in front of you," He concluded.

This won't be a technique used every time though.

"They've got to be comfortable in the situation that they're about to perform this technique, that it's a safe area, that there's nobody in danger and certainly, and mainly, the community is going to be safe when they do it as well," Walsh stressed.

This is the first time the La Crosse Police Department conducted their own training as they recently fitted two older vehicles with the necessary cages needed. Officers recertify their training every other year, but now because they have the vehicles themselves, it could become more frequent.

Officers practiced at speeds of 35 mph. They say doing the P.I.T. maneuver over that speed is defined as deadly force.

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