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West Penn getting stop strips

The West Penn Township Police Department will be getting tire deflation devices that officers can use to stop fleeing vehicles.

Township supervisors approved the purchase of the equipment, also known as spike strips, for $970 during Monday morning’s meeting.

Funds will come from the police department’s budget.

“You might say, ‘How many pursuits do you have in the township?’?” Supervisors’ Chairman Anthony Prudenti said. “Just last month there was a high-speed pursuit. Our department didn’t have the strips but Tamaqua did.”

In that instance, the suspect was captured by Tamaqua police after he drove his car over the spike strips.

And in October, a man who killed a woman in Allentown traveled through the township before reaching the Panther Valley, where he turned a gun on himself.

“If (police Chief James Bonner) had the stop sticks, he could have ended that pursuit right there,” Supervisor Glenn Hummel noted.

Prudenti said the addition of the equipment can help in another way, since the department is seeking accreditation from the Pennsylvania Chiefs of Police Association.

“If you have certain criteria and equipment that you can certify, that will help bring our insurance down. This is one of the things,” Prudenti added.

Bonner noted that the strips are reusable. And every five years, the manufacturer will replace the spikes at no cost.