New spike strips to help officers stop pursuits

T-L Photo/SHELLEY HANSON HOLDING ONE of the new spike strips for the Bellaire Police Department are, from left, Deputy Auditor Marla Krupnik, police Chief Dick Flanagan and Councilman Jerry Fisher.

BELLAIRE — The Bellaire Police Department has a new tool expected to help its officers stop vehicles involved in high-speed pursuits or other dangerous situations.

Spike strips can be deployed across a roadway to slow down an incoming vehicle. Two of them were purchased for $500 apiece via a $1,000 grant from the Ohio Public Entities Pool. The grant was secured by Deputy Auditor Marla Krupnik.

Bellaire police Chief Dick Flanagan said his department has never had spike strips before, but there have been past pursuits where they could have used them.

“It’s a good tool to have, but we hope we don’t have to use it. … Cops don’t want to get into high-speed chases,” Flanagan said.

He noted the Belmont County Sheriff’s Department has such strips and has used them recently. The Ohio State Highway Patrol also uses spike strips when needed.

Flanagan said there may be times when his department will need to use the strips to help out neighboring police departments. For example, if a suspect is fleeing from Shadyside via Ohio 7, the strips could be deployed across the highway to slow down that person.

Flanagan noted his department does not engage in such pursuits unless the situation is serious, such as a murder or other dire issue.

“I’d rather we have it and not have to use it,” he said.

Councilman Jerry Fisher said he is happy Krupnik has secured another grant for the department at no cost to the village of Bellaire.

Krupnik recently secured a $500 grant that allowed the department to purchase three Halligan bars, which are tools that can be used to pry open smashed-in doors, break windows and even cut seat belt straps.

Flanagan said his officers had to use the tool bar recently to enter the home of an elderly woman who had fallen and could not get up off her floor for three days.

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