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article imageOntario police will test GPS darts that avoid high-speed chases

By Arthur Weinreb     May 20, 2017 in Technology
Orillia - Over the long weekend, the Ontario Provincial Police will be testing the GPS dart system that allows officers to avoid high-speed chases. Officers can fire a dart into a vehicle and then be able to trace its movements rather than engage in a pursuit.
This is the Victoria Day weekend in Canada; the first long weekend after winter and one of the busiest on the roads. As is always the case on such weekends, the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) will be out in force looking for speeders, drunk drivers and other drivers engaged in dangerous behaviour. The OPP has announced they will be testing the system that allows police to fire a dart into a fleeing vehicle that can then be traced by GPS.
Device attached to front of police car holding GPS darts
Device attached to front of police car holding GPS darts
OPP Twitter account
What the police will be testing is known as the Satellite Technology Apprehension Response system or STAR. The technology was developed by StarChase Pursuit Management Technology. Darts are stored in a device attached to the grill of a police car. Officers inside their vehicles can then disarm the safety and fire a projectile into another vehicle in front of them. The projectile or dart sticks to the targeted vehicle by a magnet and adhesive. It is not easily removable.
Once the dart is attached, police in a communications centre can track the offending vehicle without the necessity of a high-speed chase. Sgt. Kerry Schmidt said vehicles fleeing from police at high rates of speed tend to slow down after they realize they are no longer being pursued.
Schmidt and other OPP officers demonstrated the use the STAR launcher to the media yesterday.
Schmidt said using the device takes away the risk to public safety and allows police to monitor and then intercept the vehicle when they are ready, in circumstances that to not put the public at risk.
Joe Solomon is the chief of police in Methuen, Massachusetts and he gave a reason, besides safety to the general public, why avoidance of high-speed pursuits is a good idea. Solomon said use of the darts reduces his officers’ exposure to “post-adrenaline pursuit syndrome.” An increase in adrenaline can result in officers using too much physical force when they finally apprehend the suspect and this can also lead to higher costs to the city.
This is not the first time STAR has been used in Canada. In January, Police in Delta B.C. began testing the system after the Delta Police Foundation picked up the tab for the installation of the devices in eight police cars. Delta plans to test the system for a year.
READ ALSO: Delta police become first Canadian department to employ GPS darts
The cost of the device is approximately $1,500. Schmidt said three fully marked police cruisers will be equipped with the system and will be on the roads this weekend.
More about gps darts, highspeed chase, highspeed pursuit, Ontario provincial police, Opp
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