MARICOPA, AZ (3TV/CBS5) -- The Maricopa Police Department will soon use futuristic technology to track suspects on the run without sparking dangerous police pursuits. The agency has now installed the StarChase system onto four of their patrol cruisers.
The technology allows the patrol car to launch a GPS tracker designed to stick to a fleeing vehicle.
“It has a sticky epoxy on the front, it has a really strong magnet,” says Sgt. Sean Marchese.
The StarChase system mounts to the front of the grill, and when activated, it heats up the glue on the cartridge and fires at the push of a button. The glue and the magnet work to hold the GPS tracker to the target vehicle.
“Once we have the tracker on [the vehicle] we could watch the vehicle’s movements,” says Marchese. “We could strategically find out where that vehicle may be going and figure out a place that may be better suited to stop that vehicle.”
Marchese is currently writing department policy on when StarChase can be legally used to track suspects.
“If it’s not obvious, you can’t just go around shooting GPS trackers on every car,” says Marchese.
The American Civil Liberties Union commented on the StarChase system in 2014 saying the system must only be used in police chases where the officer has “probable cause of wrongdoing.” The ACLU comment goes on to say police must “catch up to the suspect as soon as they can” and then ensure “location tracking ends.”
Once policy is written and training complete, Marchese says, the system will go operational early next year.