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High-speed chases can be dangerous both for police officers and the general public. To minimize that danger, a company called StarChase has developed a system that shoots a special GPS-equipped dart that adheres to a fleeing vehicle and allows authorities to track the vehicle’s movements from a safe distance, without a frantic pursuit.
As reported by computerworld.com the System has been tested and evaluated by police departments around the country, including the Arizona Department of Public Safety and the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office in Florida, according Karen Jaffe, CEO of the Virginia Beach-based company.
The darts, which are made from semi-rigid foam and other materials, are aimed using a laser and then fired with an air-compressor-powered mechanism from the grille of a police car, Jaffe said. The dart attaches to the suspect’s vehicle using magnets and a proprietary glue. “It’s designed to be fired so it doesn’t distract the officer” during the initial chase, which officers can discontinue once the dart is attached, she said.
The cost for the system is about $5,000 for one vehicle, plus monthly fees for GPS monitoring.
The use of GPS technology to track people in their vehicles also raises some privacy concerns. In fact, a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision, United States v. Jones, declared that it was illegal for the government to attach a GPS device to someone’s vehicle and use the device for long-term monitoring of the individual’s movements without first obtaining a search warrant.