Police forces in Florida and Iowa in the USA have started to deploy a new system called ‘Starchase’ which aims to make car chases safer. In the US there are over 100,000 high-speed car chases every year and all cars involved in the chase, suspect or police car, can pose a significant danger to the general public. The Starchase system basically fires sticky GPS devices at the car directly ahead so the police car can sit back from the chase and hopefully cool down the hot pursuit.
With the projectile GPS tracker attached to the getaway car, the police car and police HQ computers will know where the suspect is heading and where it stops. An added advantage of the system is that the fleeing suspect car will likely slow down as the police car backs off - perhaps thinking that he/she has lost the tailing police officer.
ABC News covered the story recently, and visited the St Petersburg, Florida police department who are trialling the Starchase system. See below.
In a car chase a flap opens up on the grille of the police car to expose the twin barrelled Starchase compressed air cannon. A web-based mapping system can then be used to track the suspect car.
Looking at the costs of this technology ABC News says the system costs around $5,000 per car plus each GPS projectile costs around $250. However such a system can reduce the police force’s exposure to many liabilities involved in a high-speed car chase as well as reducing personal safety concerns.