That's why an East Bay police force outfitted half of its fleet of cruisers with a technology that allows officers to track suspects' vehicles without tailing them at mph. Mike Gancasz. A USA Today analysis found that more than 5, bystanders and passengers were killed and tens of thousands injured in police chases between and Most bystanders were killed in their own cars by a fleeing driver.
Case Study of a GPS Tracking Tool Designed to Aid in Police Vehicle Pursuits
The backbone of the StarChase technology is an air cannon similar to the one that Lou Seal uses to shoot t-shirts into the crowd at Giants games. But instead of launching cotton tees, the car-mounted gun fires a glue-capped GPS capsule about the size of a mini-Coke can. In the event that an officer encounters a suspect vehicle, he activates the system, which pressurizes the gun, heats up the glue and opens a door hidden in his patrol car's grille.
When an aiming laser dot appears on target, the officer fires by pushing a button on a separate panel.
At least 40 of them are new; the rest have been outdated since At that point, the hardware became obsolete and went out of warranty. Those computers have since experienced issues including slow performance, instability and failed GPS modules, according to Officer Michelle Woodling, a St. Louis police spokeswoman.
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- Police leaders hope technology will minimize the number of dangerous chases.
Police cannot track any patrol vehicle with a defunct laptop or a failed GPS module. That kind of information is part of an investigation into the fatal shooting of off-duty officer Katlyn Alix at the home of a colleague , Nathaniel Hendren, who was on duty and supposed to be on patrol at the time.
Authorities have declined to say whether the patrol car Hendren and Riordan were using was equipped with a GPS-capable laptop. The department did not make anyone available for an interview on its GPS tracking capabilities, saying its lawyers advised responding to questions in writing because some of the information would not be considered public.
Manage Police Vehicle Safety with GPS Car Trackers
Jeff Roorda, business manager for the St. Louis Police Officers Association, said the computers are in constant use to check licenses and warrants.
Woodling said the department stores data from each GPS-equipped patrol vehicle going back two years, but added that the data are not considered public information. Except for our opt-in services, Ford requires physical access to download any data from the vehicle. Get the latest Ford stock price here.
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