Redmond Police use a vehicle-mounted GPS tracking system to track fleeing suspects



(Photo by KIRO 7)

The Redmond Police Department began StarChase Pursuit in January to safely track fleeing suspects.

StarChase is a vehicle-mounted GPS launcher that uses technology to provide real-time information to the police force. This allows officers to remotely track a suspect’s car.

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“It’s GPS-enabled technology that allows officers to tag a vehicle, back off, and then virtually monitor the suspect vehicle’s location and actions,” Chief Darrell Lowe said. “Once the vehicle comes to a stop, officers can safely approach the vehicle and take the suspects into custody.”

The StarChase device is then removed from the car without damage.

Lowe said his officers have been successful in safely apprehending suspects since they began doing so.

“No technology is foolproof, but so far we’ve had nothing but positive results from using it,” he said.

“The Redmond Police Department is among a handful of Washington state agencies participating in this program to test the technology’s efficiency and effectiveness in safely apprehending suspects on the run,” Lowe said. “StarChase is a tactical tool that allows our officers to make an arrest while protecting our officers, the suspect and members of the community.”

The grant runs through June 30, “at which point participating agencies will essentially return information to the Washington Association of Sheriff’s and Police Chiefs,” Lowe said. “This information will then be shared with our legislatures and the governor’s office, and a decision will be made or determined as to whether or not this technology is appropriate for law enforcement.”

Redmond Police have used StarChase to successfully catch several criminals. Statewide, the technology has been used in stolen cars, DUIs, human and drug trafficking and other crimes, the department said.

Lowe said this is a viable resource, but he believes prosecution policy should be left to individual police departments.

“Written prosecution laws are too restrictive and while this is an additional tool, this is not the solution. This will not eliminate the need to pursue suspects,” Lowe said.

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