ONLY ON NEWS 3: Police use racetrack to learn how to stop high speed chase

Crime & Safety

A police chase can be one of the most dangerous situations for officers, other drivers and pedestrians.

There are techniques that police can use to bring the chase to an end, but first, an officer needs to know the right way to do it.

That’s why Port Wentworth Police took to the track at Roebling Road Raceway to train for the next high-speed arrest attempt.

“We practice out here today on when to get close and then how to do the proper pit.” explains Port Wentworth Police Captain Lee Sherrod.

PIT stands for Pursuit Intervention Technique. A driving maneuver by a police officer to use during a high-speed chase to make sure a suspect doesn’t get away.

The proper PIT is one that brings the suspect to a stop without endangering anyone else.

“The individual that we would be pursuing its really expecting us to come alongside of them, touch their vehicle which they probably won’t even feel, then turn them and put them in a position where it should immobilize their vehicle,” explains Port Wentworth Sgt Nathan Jentzen. “They are just going to be in utter shock.”

A shock that even affects the officers training on this day. Even though they who know its coming.

“The officers when they are the pursuing vehicle and when they are pitted the first time, they are in shock,” says Jentzen. “So oh, this is what actually happens.”

Captain Lee Sherrod led the training and explained to the officers the proper technique.

“They are teaching the guys to come up, touch the vehicle with their side bumper,” explains Sherrod. “Know your roadway, know your area, Know what’s going to happen.’

Inside the car its a blow by blow of how it’s done.

“They do want to match the speed of the vehicle, They want to touch the vehicle, then they want to turn the vehicle. And put the vehicle where they intended to put the vehicle. so its a very precise maneuver.”

“You ease over, you quarter turn in, then you drive straight through.”

But why is it so effective? 

“See how he’s got us (with just a tap) and you can’t control your vehicle.”

“(The key is) The weight of the vehicle. The way he is transferring the weight off the rear end, that gives you no control of your vehicle.” says Sherrod.

And when it’s done.

“One officer would be pinning the rear,” says Sherrod. “The officer primary would have come around and pinned the front of the car, and this vehicle is no longer a threat to the motoring public.”

The officers will go over the technique over and over before testing. Using PIT to push the “suspect” car between two placed cone, the “safe zone” 8 times during one spin around the track. Only then will they be allowed to use the technique when they are on the streets to bring suspects to justice.

“We are chasing the suspect for a reason,” says Sgt Jentzen. “Our main goal is to catch them, put them behind bars are let the justice system take over.”

Port Wentworth Police, Effingham County Sheriff’s and Georgia State Troopers are the only departments in our area who train and use the PIT maneuver regularly.

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