Pin the Tail on the Speeder
Missouri state legislators propose bills that would make new “tack-and-track” technology less expensive for police departments. The technology aims to corral fleeing suspects without putting nearby drivers in danger by using a GPS-tracked projectile dart to attach to and then keep tabs on the criminal’s car.
In Missouri, 32 of the 54 people who died in criminal-pursuit-related crashes between 2000 and 2005 were unconnected with the chase.
Critics of the legislation, which now proceeds to public committee hearings, argue that the device is expensive and ineffective. With a price tag of over $1,200 per police vehicle, the St. Louis police force would pay $360,000 to outfit their fleet; Kansas City, $421,000.
Eric Winebrenner, a Kansas City police captain, doubts the department pursues enough criminals for the technology to be “of good use,” and other officers wonder how helpful the device becomes if a suspect leaves the car behind.
Dr. Geoff Alpert, a University of South Carolina criminologist, believes the device is best suited for chases in high-density areas or on highways.
Recent departmental changes to pursuit policies include restrictions prohibiting chases unless there is little risk, or unless the crime in question is a felony.
Spike strips are also used to puncture car tires.
Abstracted by the National Law Enforcement and Corrections Technology Center (NLECTC) from the St. Louis (MO) Post-Dispatch (02/23/07); Kravitz, Derek.