ST. ANN, MO. – The St. Ann Police department is rolling out GPS technology that could cut down on the number of police pursuits and the number of innocent people who could be hurt or killed during high speed chases.
It’s called the Star Chase Program.
The technology will be mounted on a patrol car, a GPS tag will shoot out from it and onto a fleeing vehicle. After that, the police can track the vehicle’s location. Police Chief Aaron Jimenez calls it a “game changer”. Chief Jimenez said it was important to add this technology because there have been mixed feelings about whether officers should chase after suspects.
“The number one complaint, the only complaint, is that you are putting people’s lives in jeopardy; you’re going to hurt them,” he said. “They’re going to die from a crash.”
The St. Ann Police department will use the technology on 10 patrol cars. Chief Jimenez said the program will prevent or mitigate high-speed chases.
“They might think that they get away and then we watch from a safe distance,” he said once the GPS tracker is deployed.
The department’s policy on police pursuits is to always chase a vehicle if they flee, Chief Jimenez said.
“We always see much more guns in the car, drugs in the car, driving while revoked,” he said. “A few of the guys had warrants for homicide.”
Jamie Crawford is with the St. Ann neighborhood watch. She supports the Star Chase Program.
“There is definitely a very important place for high speed chases, but it will be great if it’s not the high speed pursuit,” she said. Hopefully, that is what star chase will cut down on.”
Chief Jimenez said the new equipment will not be perfect, but it will only help.
“We might not catch everybody if they jump out of the car [and] they run, but at least we can process the car, get DNA off of the car and hopefully there will be no collisions and we can end that.”
The St. Ann Police department will be spending more than $53,000 on the initial expenses to purchase the technology. It will cost the department around $10,000 a year on general maintenance.
The city approved the department for the Star Chase program in a meeting last Wednesday. They hope to implement the program within the next month, Chief Jimenez said.
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