Byron PD's New High Speed Chase Technology

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Updated: Sun, 09 Feb 2014 09:19:39 EST

You may not want to try a high speed chase through Byron anytime soon as the
police department is now one of only two agencies in the state to have pursuit management technology.

It's a system that allows officers to deploy a GPS projectile about 6 inches long on a car and avoid a high speed chase. This in turn helps officers relax and not feel the pressure to take risks in pursuing a suspect.  

"This technology will keep us safer, it'll help keep our citizens safer and help keep the criminal a lot safer," Byron Police Chief Wesley Cannon said.

The department won the technology last year at the International Associations Chiefs of Police Conference. It is now installed on one car and if it works efficiently, Cannon says he plans to buy more using asset forfeiture money.

StarChase, the company that makes the gadget, says there are more than 55,000 injuries and more than 360 officer and civilian fatalities in pursuit related crashes each year. However, this new technology is meant to decrease that.

"We're finding out that when the officer backs down, that officer and the responding officers backs down their adrenaline comes down,” StarChase Training and Account Manager David Respess said. “Also once that officer backs off, the suspects begin to slow down to try to blend in because they think the officer has terminated that pursuit which at the end of the day keeps those citizens safe."

The gadget involves a remote control in the patrol car to deploy the projectile.  The device can be fitted on the grill of most police units and the projectile sticks on any car. A laser that the officer controls focuses on the vehicle. When the the officer is ready, a shot can be sent whether at a standstill or in pursuit within two car lengths. A strong adhesive sticks the projectile to the vehicle and tracking immediately begins. The suspect’s location is updated every 4 to5 seconds.

"Due to the stress and adrenaline that person is carrying with him or her, they don't even hear it half the time,” Respess said. “They won't be able to hear it hit that vehicle, to pull it off the vehicle is not likely."

Respess says the projectile is non-lethal and doesn’t cause injury.

“The impact is about 1/12 of a 90 mph fastball.”

Cannon thinks the technology will be useful as many high speed chases come into Byron off I-75.

"We're not going to selfish with it, if we can help another agency end a pursuit, we'll be glad to do so,” Cannon said.

Cannon says he plans to purchase more using asset forfeiture money after testing it .  One downside, it doesn't stick well in rain.  While it may seem to impede on someone’s personal space, StarChase claims it doesn't interfere with fourth amendment rights.

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