Tuesday, October 29, 2013

High-tech method to prevent dangerous high-speed chases

There are very few things police officers do that's more dangerous - for themselves and the general public - than engaging in high speed chases. For several years now I've thought technological advances had the potential to reduce the death count from high-speed chases substantially. As early as 2006, some departments experimented with GPS trackers fired at the chased vehicle as opposed to barreling through the public streets in dangerous pursuits. The leading company in the field, called Starchase, has created what the media are describing as a James-Bond type device that, with the push of a button, fires GPS-enabled dart from the grill of the police car at the vehicle in front of it, CNET reported this week:
The officer in the driver's seat presses one button, the grill opens, and the gun fires the [GPS-enabled] bullet.

If all goes well, the bullet, with a GPS device enclosed, sticks to the back of the car being pursued.
Once it does, the officer can slow down, because the suspect's car will be tracked along the computer screen.

One further advantage, of course, is that the suspect's car will likely feel the police have given up and hopefully slow down.

This seems so blindingly intelligent -- at least until miscreants catch on -- that there can't be a drawback.
According to a news report posted on the company's website, Austin PD has deployed the technology in 12 vehicles and is looking for grant money to expand the program. Cost is the big barrier to wider deployment. Each device costs $5,000 to install and each GPS dart costs around $500. But perhaps competition and/or economies of scale will drive those numbers down in years to come.


shg said...

Cop shoots as car swerves, GPS-enabled bullet misses car and hits another car or pedestrian. Baby killed, but easily located.


Cops shoots GPS-enabled bullet, goes through trunk into rear seat, striking young kidnapped girl, killing her instantly, but easily located.

I could go on. Unlikely? Maybe, just like Tasers are non-lethal most of the time.

Blindly intelligent?

Gritsforbreakfast said...

Scott, "Bullet" is the word used by CNET but if you watch the video on the Starchase homepage (at about the 1:50 mark), it's not really a "bullet." IMO "dart" would be the better word; it sticks to the car, doesn't penetrate it.

shg said...

Having seen the video, you're right. It's not a bullet at all, and appears relatively benign.

While there may be some possible scenarios where it could do damage, it's far better than high speed pursuit.

South Tex said...

It seems to make sense. I can imagine some lawyer bringing up 4th amendment issues when bad guy gets caught.

No matter what cops do its never enough for the courts, the attorneys or even the prosecutors lmao!

Gritsforbreakfast said...

Why am I not surprised, Scott, that you began running off at the mouth with zero knowledge of the subject? Shocking.

rodsmith said...

LOL an even easier fix would be GPS trackers in every vehicle in the country. Then they could just pull it up.

That is where they plan to end up anyway!

Gritsforbreakfast said...

That's for sure, Rod. That said, though IANAL, it's likely that the dangerous circumstances surrounding a high-speed chase get them an exigency exception for placing a GPS tracker on a vehicle, even if the courts find, as they're starting to, that there's a warrant requirement under US v. Jones.

ckikerintulia said...

$5,000. for the gun; $500. for the bullet. You catch the guy without risking a $30,000. (?) police and x number of lives. You still have the gun, but I guess you'd have to have another $500. bullet. Seems to make sense economically.

Anonymous said...

One would think that with the post 911 grant money being gobbled up by every city or town with a red-light to stick a camera or two or three per intersection on, all the authorati would have to do is radio in the description, the direction headed & simply follow the dispatcher's damn directions, as they wait on air support.

But, that would be too damn easy.

Since they don't fully utilize the tools we already bought them, I'm going to submit for a patent & trademark this cheaper option and charge each city that uses it $1. U.S. (For a limited time I'm taking on Partners in this venture, patents and trademarks aren’t free.)

rodsmith said...

LOL not really grits! Since i'm sure any national GPS unit put into a vehicle would include a companion unit that would be able to shut the engine down upon command from law enforcment!

God forbid they have to chance someone and miss the happy hour at donut world!

Anonymous said...

$500 dollars per dart?


How many car chases would say, the LAPD use these for in a month? In a year?