By Paula Baker, Global News Canada
A new crime-fighting tool being used by the Delta Police looks like something out of a James Bond movie.
Instead of engaging in a potentially dangerous car chase, the new technology will allow officers to shoot a GPS dart from the grill of their cruiser onto a suspect’s vehicle and track it online.
The idea is that by not having to pursue the suspect, police are able to fall back and monitor the location of the vehicle before sending in additional officers to intercept it when it’s stopped safely.
After an increasing number of ‘fail to stop’ incidents in early 2016 and an increasing frustration with having a limited ability to capture cars that flee, the Delta Police started to research options. One option, StarChase Pursuit Management Technology, caught their attention.
The StarChase system is made up of a vehicle mounted compressed air launcher, operator console, tracking projectiles, key-fob discharge control, web-based tracking software and the handheld 54 millimetre compressed air launcher.
But with new tech comes new expenses. That’s when the Delta Police Foundation stepped up and agreed to fund the project.
Now eight police vehicles in the Delta Police fleet are equipped with the chase technology, which makes them the first department in Canada to use StarChase. Abbotsford Police have also ordered the same technology.
“We do recognize there is no one tool that serves as a “silver bullet” to solve any one issue,” said Delta Police Chief Neil Dubord in a statement.
“I do believe it is incumbent on us to employ advanced technology options that may assist us in our efforts to be effective at doing our job while mitigating risk to the public.”
With officers trained, protocols in place and equipment installed, the force says they were able to successfully deploy the technology on Wednesday night. Officers shot their first dart onto a vehicle they noticed was being driven erratically.
The Delta Police will be assessing the workability and functionality of the technology in an operational environment over the course of the year.
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