Richmond police hope tire-deflating technology will help curb side shows

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Richmond police aim to curb side shows with tire-deflating technology

The Richmond Police Department (RPD) aims to purchase 32 Stop Stick tire deflation devices to help address vehicle pursuits and frequent side shows in the city.

At its meeting Tuesday, the City Council will decide whether to fund the RPD’s request to spend $16,799.90 to purchase the technology and two related training devices. The purchase would allow the RPD to maintain enough of the devices to issue every on-duty officer with one for their shift and to outfit detectives and traffic officers with the devices in their vehicles, the city said.

The RPD currently “has no safe, and, proactive method for ending vehicle pursuits and side shows on our terms, at a time and location of our choosing, and in an expeditious manner,” police said. Without specialized equipment, police said, “suspects are able to flee until they submit to arrest, cause a collision, or run out of gas.”

“The Stop Sticks are engineered to deflate tires without blowouts, utilizing hollow tubes to let out air at a controlled rated, disabling the tires on the suspect vehicle,” police stated in city documents. “They are safe to deploy because the hollow piercing tubes reside in a protective sleeve. Once deployed, the officer can retreat to a safe 80’ distance, and still be able to remove them from the roadway via the attached cord. No debris is left on the roadway by the device.”

The RPD says the devices could be used as a way to make busts at frequent side shows held in the city, with the ultimate aim of preventing them from returning.

“The Bay Area side show groups make City of Richmond a stop each and every weekend,” police said. “The typical locations and areas are Hilltop Mall, Richmond Pkwy., North Richmond, the Target shopping center, and the warehouses around Canal Blvd. These groups consist of anywhere from 50 to 300 plus vehicles. They blatantly violate speed, stop sign, traffic signal, and crosswalk vehicle codes as they travel from location to location throughout the city. Once stopped at their planned location for the side show exhibition, they violate speed laws, commit acts of reckless endangerment, and have no concern for vehicle traffic or pedestrian safety. When police arrive, the occupants and vehicles flee, in mass, wreaking havoc on the streets of Richmond and surrounding freeways.”

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