September 16, 2009
The Fit is No Go
The California Highway Patrol (CHP), in what I'm assuming is LA (since the video is from KTLA), tried a PIT (Precision Immobilization Technique) maneuver on this Honda Fit. Notice after several failed attempts from several different CHP units, they finally are somewhat successful in slowing the Fit. Then, with one final ram from the all white unit the Fit is no go. The officers assume the classic “circle the wagons” pattern (a.k.a. cross-fire pattern), and while the Fit is still attempting its get-away, one "Chippie" decides to gets out of the passenger-side of the all white CHP unit. Although the Fit was close to being immobilized, an officer in this situation may become aware of the danger of being run down by the suspects. If the Fit's driver continued his attempts to flee, and the officer outside the white unit became fearful for his life, the officer may have opened fire on the Fit's driver. With the cross-fire set up these CHP units were in, this officer may have sent rounds in the direction of his fellow officer (at the top of the screen in the black and white unit). That officer did recognize the situation and moved out of the line of fire, but things can happen so quickly. Besides the horrible tactical positioning of the vehicles, the weak PIT maneuver attempts, and the appearance of controlled chaos, California is also in the middle of a budget crisis. Right away, the CHP should be working to implement a policy outlining guidelines for how many pursuing vehicles are allowed to be involved in both a pursuit and the application of a PIT maneuver. Both the agency that trained me and the one I worked for had specific policies for pursuits and PIT type maneuvers. From my training and experience, it seems very unnecessary for so many CHP units to attempt to PIT the Fit. I was trained when, where, and how hard to hit another car to cause the spin out. If timidity causes the first attempt not to work correctly, the bad guys gain knowledge in how to avoid further attempts. Poor execution of the maneuver is more dangerous then not using it at all. I was trained on the same course as those very CHP officers. I learned the same technique they did, I learned how to properly execute the move, and I learned a weak maneuver attempt results in the bad guys continuing on their path of destruction. I do love law enforcement, and I do know there are times when nerves and adrenaline may cause an officer to make poor decisions. But, proper and ongoing training is the corrective process. The CHP has a training course second to none. They may need to send a few guys back for a refresher course.