This article was originally published in Geomatics World.
US police officers are trialling a new piece of GPS technology called StarChase to reduce risks associated with pursuits. The StarChase system uses a compressed air launcher mounted in the grille of a police vehicle to launch a GPS device, which adheres to a suspect’s vehicle. The system can then track a suspect’s vehicle in near real time on a secure map. Once tagged, officers can fall back and coordinate a tactical “safe stop” to apprehend the suspect.
In 2013, field trials in the US following the introduction of StarChase indicated that law enforcement’s use of the GPS tracking technology resulted in apprehension rates greater than 80%. The data also shows that on average, a tagged suspect vehicle slows to within 15km of the posted speed limit in one minute 45 seconds. Additionally, there were no injuries, fatalities or property damage.
In a study published in the 2010 FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin, Dr. Jeffrey Alpert of the University of South Carolina found approximately 75% of interviewed subjects reported they would slow down once they were out of the range of police authority and visible emergency lights or sirens. StarChase data coming in from the trials supports this earlier study.
“This is the first study of the StarChase system and it validates its place in law enforcement,” said Trevor Fischbach, president, StarChase. “We are confident these results will encourage continued adoption of this technology by the law enforcement community and pursuit accidents will end.”