Authors: Morgan Gaither, Mark Gabriele, Nancy Andersen Sean Healy, Vivian Hung
The purpose of this research was to conduct an independent assessment of StarChase, a pursuit management technology that tags and tracks a fleeing vehicle. This report also describes how police operations are impacted by the use of this system.
StarChase is a GPS-based system that provides a capability for tracking a fleeing vehicle at a distance by launching and attaching non-lethal GPS-tracking tags to the fleeing vehicle and providing real-time data on the vehicle’s location. Officers can then use mapping data during the pursuit to locate the vehicle.
The research indicates that GPS-enabled pursuit technologies such as StarChase extend police flexibility by providing remote tracking capability when line-of-sight vehicle tracking becomes unfeasible. The study suggests that success or failure of a pursuit technology such as StarChase is related to the integration of the new technology into existing pursuit policies and practices.
The study found that implementation and use of StarChase varied among the end-user agencies. End users’ opinion of StarChase is that it is a helpful pursuit management tool, but that it is not a comprehensive solution for avoiding or successfully resolving all possible pursuit scenarios.
The findings from this research drive five recommendations for law enforcement agencies:
1. Establish data requirements and expectations for end-users prior to providing funding;
2. Examine the technology’s capabilities and policy implications prior to deployment;
3. Allow for a temporary or phased approach and evaluation period;
4. Evaluate for performance, lifecycle costs, operational conditions, and policy implications;
5. Establish metrics and collect data for impact assessment comparisons before and after the technology has been integrated and deployed.
The report also provides legal information and general analysis on the use of the StarChase tag as it may be applicable to the Fourth Amendment.