Bloomington Police deploy new device for stopping police pursuits quickly

Police pursuits are not only dangerous for officers, but for everyone else on the road as well.

Last spring, a fleeing driver out of Bloomington ran through a red light off Highway 77, slamming into an SUV and injuring two people.

Bloomington Police Chief Booker Hodges says that's just one example in a concerning uptick.

"From 2014 to 2018, on average, the city of Bloomington was having 21 pursuits. Last year, we had 115," said Hodges. "If you look at those numbers... some people think they can just run from the police and nothing is going to happen."

His department is now the first in the Midwest to deploy new technology aimed at ending police pursuits quickly and safely. 

MobileSpike works like stop sticks, except the device is attached to the front of a squad car and shoots out like a sword with the push of a button. The device has been installed on three BPD squad cars so far.

Each MobileSpike runs around $20,000, and the technology works on both dry pavement and in rainy and snowy conditions.

On Friday morning, officers learned how to use the new equipment near the Mall of America. The spikes are able to work on all sorts of tires, including ones on semi-trucks. They also work at highway speeds.

In Bloomington currently, an officer or their supervisors call off 66% of police pursuits before an arrest is made, but the suspect's reckless driving often continues.

"We are done pursuing them, but they are still driving like that and they end up hitting somebody," said Hodges. 

But before anyone gets hurt, this device can be deployed. 

"If we can end these (chases) quickly, everybody is going to be more safe," said Hodges.