FF12: WPD suspends spike strip use for 30 days

WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) The Wichita Police Department said it will suspend the use of spike strips for 30 days as it evaluates the safety of the policy.

Deputy Chief Jose Salcido made the call.

"I think 30 days is a good time to analyze and look at tactics, techniques, policy, procedure overall with the safety of officers in mind. So that's why I decided in the chief's absence to make that move," Salcido said.

Spike strips are devices WPD uses to help them catch people who are fleeing in vehicles. The strips are long plastic pieces lined with metal deflators. When a vehicle runs over them, the metal pieces deflate the vehicles' tires instantly.

Tuesday, police said someone hit and critically injured Officer Brian Arterburn while he was on foot. Spike strips and his vest were both lying in the spot where the vehicle hit him at the scene.

Salcido said when he was in the military, any problem or issue would be followed with a safety check.

"I'm just bringing that experience here," he said.

While reviewing the policy, Salcido said the department can look at safety as well as other options aside from spike strips. The current WPD policy calls the devices "stop sticks" and has safety measures in place to keep officers safe. That includes training officers are required to do before being able to use the strips, restrictions on where they can be deployed and instructions on how to retrieve them after use.

Salcido said he still wants to look at the policy and try to be objective by separating Tuesday's incident from the review.

"What you do is you take an engineering perspective at the thing and deconstruct everything and then make it better," he said.

This isn't the first time police have looked at other options in Wichita. Salcido said officers use spike strips often to stop chases but several months ago, the department did research some other options.

"There is technology out there. There's something we're already looking at. About six or seven months ago, what we were looking at, it's called Star Chase. It is an air cannon launched GPS device."

Salcido said ultimately, it's about safety and reviewing the policy makes sense.