Delta police to avoid high-speed chases by using GPS darts

The Surrey RCMP is also looking into "pursuit management" technology.

At the end of February

DELTA — Delta Police are testing some new gear that sounds like it came out of a James Bond movie.

It’s a spongy dart that can be fired out of a patrol car’s front grill that, once stuck to a fleeing car, enables police to track the vehicle through GPS rather than engage in what could prove to be a dangerous high-speed chase.

“It’s another tool in the toolbox,” Sgt. Sarah Swallow said.

The Delta Police department is the first in Canada to embrace this new technology developed by StarChase Pursuit Management Technology.

“We’re still in the testing phases of this,” Swallow said. The gizmo will be installed in a patrol car this week and if all works out, more police cars will be equipped with it, at $5,000 apiece.

“We need to know how accurate it is, what are its capabilities and what are its limitations.”

Besides testing the device, the Delta Police are also devising a policy governing under which circumstances the StartChase can be used.

“Regarding range for use, it’s up to officer discretion and based on a variety of factors such as traffic, speed and overall conditions,” Swallow said. “We have to be fairly close to the vehicle.”

Swallow said the dart can be used when both vehicles are in motion.

Meantime, the Surrey RCMP is also looking into “pursuit management” technology.

“As our research is in the early stages, no decision has been made and consultations are still underway,” said Sgt. Alanna Dunlop.

“Surrey RCMP, in consultation with our municipal counterparts, are in the process of reviewing and examining the potential of pursuit management technology,” Dunlop said. “We continue to look for efficiencies with respect to new and innovative technologies that have the potential to enhance public safety, including risks associated with hazardous pursuits. We are actively working with national RCMP authorities to investigate vehicular operations and safety considerations associated with pursuit management technology.”

tom.zytaruk@thenownewspaper.com

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