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OHP Trooper Hopes Invention Will Prevent Prisoner Escapes

 Inventor Says Device Could Have Prevented Patrol Car Theft In Garfield County

January 17, 2005

An Oklahoma Highway Patrol trooper said Monday that he has a way to prevent prisoners from escaping -- and a way to keep law enforcement officers safe.

Trooper Alan Beaty said he thinks his invention could have prevented a dangerous high-speed chase that happened last week when man a escaped from a Garfield County sheriff's deputy. The chase started when the man, who was arrested for public drunkenness, took off in the deputy's car and led the officer on a 100 mph chase on county roads.

Beaty said his "Trooper Trap" would have prevented the man from ever leaving the back seat of the patrol car.

According to Beaty, officers usually put a prisoner in the back seat of their patrol car and secure them with a seatbelt. However, as the Garfield County Sheriff's Department learned last week, that method isn't always foolproof.

The Trooper Trap is an alarm device that is attached to the prisoner's seat belt. Beaty said he came up with the idea after his patrol unit was stolen from a prisoner.

"A prisoner releases it … the alarm activates just by these lights," Beaty said. "If you have a second prisoner in a patrol unit, plug them in just like normal, activate the switch, and if they want to release theirs, the alarm will sound also."

Beaty said he believes the Trooper Trap could have prevented not only the incident in Garfield County, but also the 33 prisoner escapes that happen on average every month across the country.

"It happens all the time," he said. "(The Trooper Trap) would've saved the car, it would've saved shots fired and it would've saved huge liability."

Although the device costs $300, Beaty believes it's a small price to pay for safety. Since October, he said, there have been three attempted traffic-stop escapes in Oklahoma. He said that he hopes the Oklahoma Highway Patrol and other law enforcement agencies will consider using the device.


Trooper Trap is not endorsed or affiliated with the Oklahoma Highway Patrol.