Tulsa Police's new ' Stop Sticks'

Tuesday, August 30th 2005, 2:32 pm
By: News On 6

New information about a Tulsa woman who got into a police pursuit last week with her 4-year-old daughter in the car.

Tulsa Police originally believed the woman was under the influence of drugs or alcohol, but, have now learned she was not. They say it was a medical condition that caused her to drive so erratically.

News on 6 crime reporter Lori Fullbright explains how a new piece of equipment helped police stop the chase without anyone getting hurt.

The Tulsa Police Department just got some new stop sticks. The department received grant money to purchase 44 sets of stop sticks and within four days of getting them, they were used to save at least two lives and maybe more.

It happened last week when officers were trying to stop 22-year-old Danielle King[pictured] who was weaving all over the road, with her young daughter hanging out the passenger window. Tulsa Police officer Craig LaGrone threw out his new stop sticks and within seconds, her tires went flat. "It doesn't stop them, but, it kept her from getting up to speed and hurting herself or someone else."

The department used to have these road spikes. But they were quick or easy to deploy and officers had to stand just 10 feet from the road, so they were used in only three percent of the city's pursuits. The new ones can be deployed in a matter of seconds and there's 80 feet of cord so officers can stay well out of the line of swerving cars.

Tulsa Police officer Jason Willingham: "If you're going fast enough to roll over a piece of Styrofoam, all the way up to, I think the fastest that's been clocked is 150 miles an hour."

Once the spikes leave the strip and enter the tire, the stop sticks are sent back to the company and they send a replacement set back to the department for five years. Officers say it's a solid investment in keeping citizens, officers and suspects safe.

Tulsa averages 160 pursuits each year. And, national statistics show about 40 percent of all pursuits end in collisions.

Tulsa Police hope they can eventually buy enough stop sticks for all 400 patrol units in hopes that high speed; dangerous pursuits will become a thing of the past.