Tustin Police Department is the first law enforcement agency in Southern California to deploy GPS technology to track fleeing suspect vehicles, which could potentially prevent dangerous police pursuits that could seriously injure or even kill unsuspecting bystanders. According to BehindtheBadge.com, the pursuit mitigation device is called StarChase. A police officer uses it by firing a GPS tag from a launcher mounted on the grill of the patrol car to track a fleeing suspect. The need to get involved in a high-speed pursuit becomes unnecessary.
How The GPS Device Works
Over the next month, Tustin police will be training officers on how to use StarChase and all of their police vehicles will be equipped with the technology. Several police agencies in Northern California and Northern Washington already use StarChase. However, fewer than 100 law enforcement agencies nationwide use this technology.
Here’s how it works. The officer fires a GPS projectile from the patrol car using a laser. The launcher uses compressed air to deploy a cylinder whose end is covered in an adhesive containing the GPS locator and a transmitter. Once the GPS cylinder is attached to a fleeing car, dispatchers and police can track the location and movement of the vehicle on a secure Web-based mapping portal. And the adhesive won’t cause permanent damage to the car’s paint. Tustin police say they engage in an average of about 10 pursuits annually.
The Danger of Police Pursuits
According to an in-depth investigation by USA Today, more than 5,000 bystanders have been killed in police car chases nationwide since 1979 and tens of thousands more were injured as officers repeatedly pursued drivers at high speeds and in hazardous conditions, often for minor infractions. The bystanders and passengers in chased cars account for nearly half of all people killed in police pursuits between 1979 and 2013, the newspaper’s investigation found. Most bystanders were killed in their own cars by a fleeing driver.
As Orange County car accident lawyers who represent seriously injured crash victims and families of those killed in auto accidents, we hope this technology is adopted by all law enforcement agencies here in Southern California, and nationwide. It appears that this technology could save hundreds of lives each year and prevent tens of thousands of injuries. It’s the right thing to do and the responsible thing to do.