GPS tracking technology seeks to end police pursuits

ByThomas L. Elston

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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) – Catching the “bad guy” is not as quick as it seems, primarily when a chase turns into a hazardous pursuit.

Lowcountry authorities say there is a range of good reasons why officers or deputies engage in pursuit, but the suspect practically constantly faces the same demand: Failure to halt for blue lights.

These chases can escalate fast, and all through a busy time of day, they can be risky and potentially deadly.

“There were never any reports prior to the chase that [the driver] was involved in any crashes or included with any other vehicles,” Sweet Priano states, detailing the gatherings major up to her daughter’s demise in 2007.

Priano says it was not until eventually a legislation enforcement pursuit began that the situation turned lethal.

“Within two minutes of the chase, you experienced my family wrecked, my daughter dying on a soiled sidewalk,” Priano says. It was the night of her daughter Kristie’s basketball match. She was a sophomore in substantial university.

From that tragedy, Priano started the nonprofit PursuitSAFETY, advocating for safer legislation enforcement pursuits and responses.

While the crash that killed Priano’s daughter transpired in California, the Lowcountry is no stranger to lethal chases.

In June of 2022, Mary Alice and Shamricka Dent of Goose Creek died in a crash in close proximity to the Charleston Intercontinental Airport when investigators say a 12-12 months-previous driving their mother’s auto hit the Dent sisters, killing them.

“It’s an extremely heartbreaking dilemma,” Trevor Fischbach, CEO of StarChase, a technology searching to finish these harmful chases, mentioned. “There’s a lot of harmless life consider by these forms of functions. Some experiences saying 50,000 additionally accidents a calendar year, upwards of 2,000 fatalities.”

In info asked for from companies for the a long time 2019 via 2021, the Charleston County Sheriff’s office exhibits 452 pursuits, 144 of which contain harm of some form. The sheriff’s business did not differentiate concerning injuries to bystanders, suspects, deputies or property hurt.

The Dorchester County Sheriff’s Office environment states 67 pursuits transpired in that very same 3-12 months timeframe. They could not present how numerous had been associated or ended with mishaps or injuries.

The Berkeley County Sheriff’s Office environment was able to give the most element. In 2019, the office environment reviews 68 pursuits, 24 accidents and 7 injuries to bystanders. 2020 displays a leap to 89 chases and 43 accidents involving nine injuries. Three suspects had been killed in individuals chases. In 2021, BCSO stories 73 incidents, 27 collisions and 5 accidents. Some of the accidents and fatalities contain suspects, deputies or 3rd functions.

Most businesses, however, furnished info showing just how lots of pursuits sheriff’s deputies terminated due to security hazards. Authorities say identifying chance components in each condition are a significant part of their pursuit procedures.

StarChase looks to stop these chases and incidents completely.

“That’s where this technology arrives in,” Fischbach suggests. “It enables the officer to be in a position to tag a car from a length. Within just their judgment, the moment they’ve tagged that suspect’s car, it’s getting tracked every pair seconds.”

StarChase performs throughout jurisdictions but only if each individual county employs the technologies. Now, there are zero sheriff’s places of work or police departments that use the tech in the Lowcountry.

DCSO and CCSO stated they have read of StarChase. BCSO claimed they had not, but officials there say they are fascinated in how it works – the notion of obtaining ahead of a suspect.

“[In police chases], you are at the rear of someone, so this technology really let’s regulation enforcement variety of get in entrance of folks, obtaining in front of the issue,” Fischbach suggests.

There are two techniques the StarChase technology works: A single is a stage-and-shoot type of gun that shoots a tag onto a car or truck. The tag lets officers track a vehicle via StarChase.

The other is the initial design produced to law enforcement in 2014, which is mounted directly on the patrol car or truck. From the within of the vehicle, authorities can goal and arm the technological innovation, deploying a cylindrical GPS tracker onto suspect cars. This can be in the course of a chase or a stationary website traffic halt.

Priano says engineering like this could have helped prevent her daughter’s death.

“One of the matters with technology is it is another resource for the police officers to use, but it’s not the overcome-all I really do not consider,” Priano states.

“This know-how is incredibly helpful in preventing quite harmful outcomes and just rewriting the equation,” Fischbach says. “That’s what this technological know-how is for. It is for definitely rewriting the typically-tragic equation.”

Both Priano and Frishbach say StarChase is component of the solution. Fischbach states it is just a make a difference of agencies across the state applying it into their latest procedures and pursuit tactics. The two say the determination for a division to implement the technological know-how could appear down to a matter of funding.

When questioned about working with StarChase, Dorchester County Sheriff’s Office Spokesman Rick Carson mentioned:

There is no question it is a excellent choice to high-velocity pursuits. The data we’ve been in a position to get implies the expense of set up and obtaining projectiles would be prohibitive. If we outfitted our Patrol, Traffic, K-9, and Established teams by itself the expense would be rather substantial. Policing in a county with practically 600 square miles and virtually 45 miles from just one conclusion of the county to the other and getting just one or two cars and trucks with that type of technologies would be wonderful to have but, what are the odds of that unit being in the vicinity of a pursuit? That variety of expenditure is just not possible for our company.

Charleston County Sheriff’s Office’s Community Details Officer Andrew Knapp explained this concerning the engineering:

We are knowledgeable of the technologies but have never ever thought of it as a practical option for our company. The Charleston County Sheriff’s Business office has a comprehensive plan on vehicular pursuits that all deputies need to know. The policy stresses the safe procedure of company motor vehicles during pursuits and permits deputies to terminate a chase at any time for any cause. Deputies have to continually examine whether or not the risk connected with the pursuit outweighs the hazard of not generating an fast apprehension. Of 192 pursuits in 2021, 60 had been terminated by a pursuing deputy or supervisor. After the termination of a pursuit, deputies can use investigative means to attempt to establish these included and observe up as essential. Moreover, every single pursuit is reviewed immediately after the point to make certain adherence to policy and establish any will need for advancement. Each deputy also undergoes yearly block instruction on emergency motor vehicle operations.

We did not hear again from the Berkeley County Sheriff’s Office.

Copyright 2022 WCSC. All rights reserved.


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