FORSYTH COUNTY, Ga. — While some local police departments and county sheriffs’ offices limit pursuits or have a no-chase policy, Forsyth County deputies are all trained in pursuits and how to stop them.
“Not pursuing is not a good answer,” said Forsyth County Sheriff Ron Freeman.
His office gave Channel 2′s Steve Gehlbach exclusive access to ride-along during PIT maneuver training.
All deputies train in the Precision Immobilization Technique, and the office helps train 35 other agencies across north Georgia and metro Atlanta.
The PIT involves the chasing patrol car pulling up beside the suspect’s car in front and matching speeds before bumping the rear side panel, which disengages the tires from the road and sends the front car into a spin.
Dash camera video from a recent chase on Georgia 400 showed one Forsyth County deputy performing a PIT maneuver on a car full of four young women suspected of felony shoplifting.
The deputy is able to stop the pursuit in a grassy area at Exit 13 within 20 seconds before the car gets up to full speed. No one was injured.
“They don’t have to ask permission to do a PIT maneuver if they can do so safely,” Freeman said. “We want to end these things just as fast as we can.”
Freeman told Gehlbach that in all of 2021, his office took part in 53 police pursuits. Ten were called off by supervisors because it was too dangerous or because there were hazardous conditions.
But more than half, 23, were ended by some type of immobilization technique such as stop-sticks, box-in, rolling roadblock or PIT maneuver.
“If you run from a Forsyth County deputy, don’t be surprised if find yourself spinning around on Georgia-400 or some other road,” Freeman said.
The sheriff said those suspected of a felony, violent offenders and DUI drivers will get pursued and arrested.
“We have to do something to get those people off the road, and we’re not going to shirk from our responsibility to do that,” Freeman said.
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