Vol. 79, No. 3News notes

Grey cylinder with spongy end sticks to licence plate.

Delta police track fleeing vehicles with GPS

Delta police have a new tool in their toolbox: a pursuit management technology using GPS that allows them to track vehicles that fail to stop. Credit: Delta Police Department


In the Vancouver, B.C., suburb of Delta, criminals can flee from police, but they can't get far.

The Delta Police Department has installed pursuit management technology on eight vehicles in its fleet. Using GPS, officers can now track vehicles that fail to stop for police.

Officers were dealing with a significant increase in the number of fail-to-stop incidents. In 2016, they had 70 such cases where suspects evaded police.

While researching possible solutions, the StarChase Pursuit Management technology caught the department's attention.

"Our number one priority is public safety," says Cst. Andrew Cortes, a project manager for the new technology. "We needed the ability to increase the likelihood of apprehending these drivers and to decrease the risk to the public, the police and also the offenders that's associated with pursuits. This tool will prevent the fleeing drivers from driving dangerously if they know the police aren't following them."

The technology allows police officers to launch a lightweight GPS dart, which is roughly the size of a pop can, from the grill of the police vehicle onto a suspect vehicle.

Once a GPS tracker adheres to the vehicle, police officers can back off, and the Delta police dispatch centre tracks the vehicle and relays updates to the officers.

"This allows our members to come up with a plan for a co-ordinated approach to apprehend the offender once the vehicle is stationary," says Cortes.

Delta police Cst. Jim Ingram was trained to use the new tool and was the first to deploy it operationally. Although the vehicle did stop when he signalled them to pull over, he launched the GPS dart as a precaution.

"If we develop reasonable suspicion that a car might take off on us, someone like a dial-a-doper (drug dealer), we'll tag the car and then attempt to conduct a traffic stop," says Ingram. "Losing bad guys is frustrating. The ability to find bad guys again is less frustrating."

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