INDEPENDENCE, Mo.-- The days of car chases in Independence could be coming to an end, and the Independence Police Department is the first in the metro to use the new technology created to help officers avoid high-speed chases on city streets.
Anytime a police officer chases a dangerous suspect, it puts the lives of other drivers at risk. So from now on, whenever a suspect speeds away from police, Independence officers can use a new tool to avoid a crash and still make an arrest.
It’s called StarChase, and officers Milwaukee are already using it.
If an officer realizes a dangerous suspect is about to speed away that officer can shoot a dart – or tag, as it’s called - from the front of their patrol car. The dart sticks to the back of the suspect’s car. Inside the dart is a GPS tracking device.
The officer can then back off and still know exactly where the suspect is going and make an arrest once they come to a stop.
Dozens of police departments across the nation already using the StarChase GPS tracking system report zero injuries and zero deaths so far when using this technology in a high-risk traffic situation.
It’s yet to be seen if other police departments in the metro decide to use this technology, but it might be worth pursuing.
According to an investigation by USA Today, federal records show 385 people died in a police chase crashes in 2014 – that’s around one a day on average – and twenty percent of those killed innocent bystanders. 12 of those killed were children and five were police officers. That’s on top of the thousands of people hurt in those crashes.
Independence police say they’ve already successfully used the tracking device several times to avoid police pursuits.