The long arm of John Law just got a little longer.
In an effort to protect police officers from fleeing suspects, a technology company has developed a device that could soon replace traditional spike strips that are spread across roads to thwart escaping criminals.
The device looks like a traditional suitcase. But when activated, a slinky-like arm loaded with spikes springs out of the case – much like a snake springing from a children's toy – and into the path of a suspect.
It brings two primary improvements: Police can both activate and retract it remotely, from a distance of 180 feet. That keeps officers safe from suspects who try to swerve at the last moment to avoid having their tires punctured.
The apparatus, called the SQUID, short for Safe, Quick, Undercarriage Immobilization Device, can be activated or retracted in about two seconds, which means it doesn't need to disrupt the flow of regular, law-abiding traffic like its traditional spike-strip predecessor.
It can stretch across 18 feet of road, and is developed by Pacific Scientific Energetic Materials Company.