Wednesday, November 6, 2013

GPS "Bullet" Tracks Fleeing Suspects

StarChase GPS Tag

High-speed police pursuits, as readers are well aware, are dangerous and unpredictable. When a suspect makes the decision to flee, he or she—realizing it or not—leverages that danger against the pursuing officer's duty to uphold the law. The vast majority of chases are the result of non-violent crimes, a large percentage of which are traffic violations, but that doesn't mean an officer can simply let every suspect go. When engaging in a high-speed pursuit, an officer follows his or her obligation to enforce the law, even as it poses a clear risk to public safety (42% of those killed or injured in police pursuits areinnocent bystanders. One in every hundred high-speed pursuits results in a fatality). Research has shown that most suspects drive more slowly and are less of a hazard on the road if they believe that they are not being chased. In a perfect world, officers would never have to engage in dangerous chases, but as suspects continue to flee, they continue to be a part of police work.

The StarChase System aims to reduce or eliminate the need for high-speed pursuits using a projectile GPS device that would be right at home in a spy movie. An air cannon mounted to the front of the patrol vehicle launches the projectile, or tag, which adheres to the suspect's vehicle. The tag, which is a bit smaller than a can of Coke, transmits a signal via satellite to a web server that can then be accessed remotely to monitor the suspect's location and movements. The officer is now able to drop back, allowing police to strategically intervene at lower speeds, reducing the risk to human life.