Rather than risking injuries, deaths and lawsuits by pursuing nonviolent suspects in high-speed chases, police officers are now able to use the StarChase Pursuit Management System to tag fleeing cars with a GPS device and follow them online until finding a safe site to coordinate an arrest.
The Virginia company says it can provide police departments a safer, more certain way to nab fleeing drivers by taking a slower, less aggressive approach. The StarChase Pursuit Management System allows police officers to send a high-tech GPS-based hitchhiker along for the ride and then monitor the vehicle’s location and movement in real-time until finding a safer place and time to make the arrest.
How StarChase Works
As police officers position their patrol car behind a suspect’s vehicle to pull it over, they target the vehicle with a laser pointer. If the driver refuses to pull over or instantly decides to flee, the officer triggers a small air-powered launcher mounted in the cruiser’s grille. The launcher fires an electronic tracking tag with a GPS receiver and transmitter, which sticks to the suspect’s vehicle with a proprietary epoxy that hardens almost on impact. The effective range is about two car lengths.
What if the suspect initially cooperates, pulls over and stops? In this scenario, officers target the vehicle before stepping out of their car. If the suspect then speeds away, the officer triggers the launcher to tag the car. Also, if the suspect speeds off as the policeman steps out and approaches, the officer can trigger the launcher with a hand-carried remote key fob.
Either way, once the GPS tag attaches to the suspect’s vehicle, it begins transmitting data to a secure Internet connection so police dispatchers can track it. The dispatch center can then coordinate with police vehicles, including helicopters, to create a safe strategy to apprehend or monitor the suspect.