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New tech could reduce need for high-speed chases

Posted at 6:25 PM, Apr 20, 2016
and last updated 2016-04-20 18:25:39-04

New technology could reduce the need for dangerous high-speed chases. The Milwaukee Police Department is trying out StarChase, which uses a GPS-enabled "dart" that shoots out from a police car's grille and attaches to a suspects's vehicle, which officers can then track remotely. 

"We recently spotted a vehicle that was taken in a violent car-jacking, and we did use GPS to track the vehicle," said Officer Kim Lastrilla with the Milwaukee Police Department.

High-speed pursuit is one of the most dangerous things officers do. On Monday, Collier County deputies tried to pull over a car registered to Adam Zelske, 22, for speeding. He was wanted for a probation violation, and led police on a high-speed chase for about 20 miles. Deputies put Stop Sticks across Oil Well Road, which damaged his tires. But his car kept going, crashed into a tree and burst into flames. The driver, believed to be Zelske, was killed.

Fox 4 checked with several law enforcement agencies in Southwest Florida to see if StarChase would be a viable tool for local law enforcement.

"With the risks that come with police pursuits regarding public safety, police safety and the costs associated with other potential damages and liabilities, this technology can reduce those risks," wrote Thomas Conroy of the Charlotte County Sheriff's Office in an email. "I could not say if it is right for this agency at this time. However, it certainly would be worth exploring that option."

Of the other agencies that responded, the Cape Coral and Fort Myers Police Departments both said that StarChase was not something they are looking into using.

Costs estimates for the devices are around $5,000 per unit.