How Police, Taxpayers May Win with GPS Tagging Technology

New technology allowing police to launch a GPS device onto a suspect’s car may offer a significant reduction in dangerous and often expensive car chases…

What Happened?
StarChase recently released a GPS launcher that enables law enforcement agencies to shoot a tracking device onto a suspect’s car to keep tabs on the vehicle. The GPS technology will relay the location of the suspected criminal’s car to a computer system, allowing law enforcement officers to follow the individual electronically rather than engage in dangerous, high-speed chases.

The Goal
Law enforcement agencies are leveraging new technology to reduce the number of dangerous scenarios for officers, suspected criminals and innocent bystanders. Because around 40 percent of police chases end in crashes or an average of one fatality daily, according to University of South Carolina professor Geoffrey Alpert, solutions to eliminate these life-threatening circumstances are being embraced nationwide.

The StarChase technology focuses on improving the safety of law enforcement activities by enabling potential criminals to be tracked rather than chased down by officers. Alpert told the New York Times a recent study indicated more than 70 percent of offenders apprehended after a car chase said they would have slowed down if they felt they were no longer being pursued.

Furthermore, StarChase’s own research revealed the average suspect tracked by the GPS technology slowed down to around 10 mph of the speed limit once the police chase had ceased. The apprehension rate exceeded 80 percent with the GPS technology, compared to 70 percent when police chased offenders in more dangerous situations. Without GPS technology, communities nationwide may continue to experience:

  • 55,000 injuries annually
  • More than 360 officer and civilian fatalities each year
  • $1.3 billion in jury-awarded damages

The technology generates data that can be used in a court of law to demonstrate law enforcement’s efforts to safely and legally apprehend a suspect.

How Does It Work?
StarChase GPS tracking technology includes a launcher attached to a police vehicle that is able to shoot a tracking tag onto the vehicle of a potential offender. The compressed air launcher is placed on the grille of a police vehicle and uses a laser to target suspect cars. When the tag is attached to the offenders car, it transmits coordinates to the police dispatch computer, which can follow the tag in real-time on digital maps. From there, law enforcement can safely intercept the suspect when they have stopped traveling. Because the technology is all web-based, no software installation is required.

Many state, local and federal grants are available for law enforcement agencies interested in implementing the GPS tracking technology. These grants can be used to purchase the technology, train officers on best practices and maintain all resources for optimal performance.

Individual Rights
One question the technology presented was whether GPS tagging violated protections of unreasonable searches. Under the Fourth Amendment, searches of private property require a warrant. StarChase explains its solutions are in compliance with the Fourth Amendment when law enforcement attach the tags after probable cause has been determined or an urgent circumstance arises – such as a stolen vehicle is cited or the driver appears under the influence.

Modern Cops
EfficientGov has kept tabs on the latest law enforcement technologies such as traffic cameras that provide real-time footage of suspects in the community.

About the author

Barry Greenfield

Barry Greenfield is the founder of