'Car-chase capital' deploys new weapon -- GPS gum balls

AP
Feb. 08, 2006

The car chase capital of the world is going high-tech to end dangerous pursuits across Southern California.

Police Chief William J. Bratton unveiled a strange new weapon in the police department's strategy to halt high-speed pursuits -- adhesive darts with a global positioning system that are fired at fleeing cars by police.

Once fired from a patrol car, the GPS dart is designed to stick to a fleeing car, allowing squad cars to back off the chase.

"Instead of us pushing them doing 70 or 80 miles an hour," Bratton said, "this device allows us not to have to pursue after the car. It allows us to start vectoring where the car is."

U.S. Department of Justice officials suggested testing the StarChase system in Los Angeles. A small number of patrol cars will be equipped with the compressed air launchers, which fire the miniature GPS receivers in a sticky compound resembling a golf ball.

There were more than 600 pursuits in Los Angeles and more than 100,000 nationwide last year. Critics have long questioned the wisdom of police pursuits because they can endanger bystanders and officers.

Bratton, who often calls the city the car chase capital of the world, was asked why there are so many pursuits in Los Angeles: "There are a lot of nuts here," he said.













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