ST. ANN (KMOV.com) – The St. Ann Police Chief is unapologetic about their pursuit policy but new technology could all but eliminate the need to pursue suspects and potentially risk the safety of others.
“At the end of the day criminals are not going to quit running from the police,” said Chief Aaron Jimenez.
Jimenez says their department is well known for chasing suspects for everything from a fleeing a traffic stop to a suspect wanted for a much bigger crime.
Sometimes their chases lead to accidents and injuries. But that’s why they are investing in technology called StarChase.
It’s a projectile that shoots out a GPS tracker onto the car of a vehicle and allows the officer to track the car not by speeding through the city but through GPS.
“Here we don’t have to pursue anymore and we can still track the suspect vehicle, and we’ll be able to apprehend him and do it safely,” he explained.
The system will cost around $55,000 to install and about $10,000 each year for maintenance. It will be paid for using drug forfeiture money. Chief Jimenez says no money from Prop L, the proposition for law enforcement approved by voters in April, will be used.
Star Chase has been used for years by other departments across the country. The only other department in Missouri is in Independence.
According to a spokesperson for the company, they have an 85 percent apprehension rate if the vehicle is tagged by the GPS projectile.
Chief Jimenez won’t say how many cars they are outfitting but he says this should help eliminate most if not all of their pursuits. But if there’s an incident that warrants it, they will pursue.
“This will 100 percent help with some of the criticism, but at the end of the day if a car is not equipped or there’s someone wanted for something huge like a homicide, we will go after them,”
Another criticism about the technology is the question of legality over putting a GPS tracker on a car without a warrant, but Jimenez says there is case law and in a situation of a pursuit, it has been determined to be legal.
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