WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – A tracking technology is helping Sedgwick County deputies locate stolen vehicles, save lives and end pursuits safely.
StarChase is a GPS tagging and tracking technology that allows law enforcement to know the location of a stolen vehicle or criminal who takes off in a car.
A small launch pad located inside the patrol car is how it’s controlled. Deputies can also use a handheld button if the deputy is outside of the patrol car.
After aiming a laser beam at the suspect vehicle, the deputy can then launch a “dart-like” device onto the car.
“It’s been that most of the time they stop or slow down,” said Lt. Jason Gill. “We’ve used it three times in the last ten days or so.”
The technology can be used during a high speed chase, a pursuit or even if the deputy suspects a driver will take off during a traffic stop.
Lt. Gill said once StarChase is deployed and on a vehicle, the pursuit ends and allows deputies to back off.
Then, dispatch takes off and track the driver’s every move.
The same technology was used on Monday (Aug. 12) during a chase where a truck was later found near Hydraulic.
“Our goal obviously in anything that we do is do the job as safe as possible for us, the other public and even for the suspect,” said Lt. Gill.
It does take training, though. Deputies who have the technology installed on the front of their patrol vehicles have gone through extensive training to use it.
“It is intense in the fact that it is driving training, driving in close proximity,” said Lt. Gill. “We do try to replicate real world conditions when we train the deputies how to use this.”
Deputies will continue to use tactical vehicle intervention in some cases with this option in their back pocket just in case.
“The deputies are into whatever it takes to do their job safely,” said Lt. Gill.
Not every Sedgwick County Sheriff’s Office patrol vehicle has StarChase installed, but the agency plans to get more devices in the near future.
For more information about StarChase, how it works and how it’s been used to track down and stop criminals all over the country, click here.