Home NEWS Tech StarChase GPS Technology Deployed During Highway 242/680 Pursuit Tuesday

StarChase GPS Technology Deployed During Highway 242/680 Pursuit Tuesday

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Readers here are all too aware of what some regard as a proliferation of speedy chases involving people who – for a variety of reasons – choose to flee from law enforcement at potentially dangerous speeds, sometimes with disastrous results.

It is usually after one of these incidents that we receive a flood of suggestions on how local police might better control these chases, so that the imminent threat of arrest is lessened and potentially deadly evasive maneuvers are not employed by those on the run.

Among the suggestions we often receive is for “some sort of tracker” police can aim and fire at a fleeing car, then stand off and monitor its progress and whereabouts remotely, without fear of endangering the public at large.

Heck of an idea and, as we suspected, it is currently available (has been since around 2006 or so). And, as it turns out, one of the little Star Wars-type gizmos was deployed during a chase down our local highways yesterday.

Branded and sold to law enforcement as StarChase, the car-to-car tracking device (fired from its mount on the grill of a police cruiser and using high tech glue to keep the tracker affixed, limpet-like, to the bumper of the targeted vehicle) is a little expensive ($250 or so a deployment) and, for a number of reasons, has yet to gain widespread acceptance by law enforcement.

Proponents argue the technology gives officers an alternative in situations where the public may be endangered by a driver evading police for comparatively minor offenses – and where a bumper-to-bumper high-speed pursuit may pose an undue risk to the public, the officer, and the miscreant.

One issue that has popped up preventing more frequent use of the tracker is that citizens – even meth-addled, adrenalin junkie car burglars – have a reasonable expectation of privacy in this country and having a tracker fired at and clinging to your car like an abalone to a rock may not meet that test. It has been argued that police need a warrant before deploying something like StarChaser, not always feasible when you’re running down a local road or highway at 90 mph or more.

Supporters say that deploying StarChase, or other available tracking device, is reasonable under the Fourth Amendment because the officers have probable cause to believe the vehicle they are tracking is being used in the commission of or during the active escape from a crime.

And while data is still being collected on the overall efficacy of the system during field use, its creators and supporters maintain that it is taking the risk of high-speed flight out of pursuits and making it possible for law enforcement to move in and make arrests under more controlled circumstances.

11 COMMENTS

    • We were going for the mollusk, not the mine! Though we’re familiar. And we like to break new ground here at NEWS24/680!

  1. I had no idea such technology existed. Very cool. Seems almost like something from Mission Impossible or James Bond.

    • We were reminded of the tentacled alien from “Alien” when the thing unspooled and latched onto the target car’s bumper! Apparently the glue the tracker uses is really hard to get off.

      • And in 1955’s “Cockleshell Heroes.” Based on an account of an actual wartime raid in which they were to be used… now, isn’t this fun?

        • Less well known is the limpet mime wherein an obsessive mime navigating an invisible barrier becomes stuck to the barrier and cannot free him/herself. It’s a tragedy that you have to experience in person to understand. In other words, you would have had to have been there…

  2. Break the law, endangering the public on public roads you loose the right to privacy real quick.

  3. Laser-guided police. I like the idea but I’m sure overall very expensive when you add up the equipment, etc …for the air and ground crew.

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