Iowa police latest to use GPS to end high-speed chases


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The Iowa State Patrol is the latest law enforcement agency deploying a new launchable GPS tracking device aimed at stopping dangerous police chases.

Iowa joins Florida and Texas in using the technology that allows a trooper to fire a small GPS tracker out of a compressed-air cannon mounted on the police vehicle’s grill.

Once the miniature GPS tracking device is attached, officers can then end the often-dangerous pursuit of a criminal and track the vehicle at a safe distance or at a later time.

“After they think the officer has disengaged, (the suspects) will back down to normal speeds to blend in with traffic, so they don’t get noticed again,” Trooper Tim Sieleman told KCCI News. “You get behind a state patrol car and you’re not getting away. You may get away for a little bit, but we will catch you.”

Iowa recently put the system, built by StarChase, on its first patrol car with plans to add it to more. The state joins Texas and Florida who are already using the system, which they paid for using federal grant money.

The item, usually running as much as $5,000 per unit, uses laser target acquisition to successfully tag one of its two $500 GPS projectiles onto a fleeing vehicle. GPS coordinates relayed through wireless phone networks give officers specific data including the vehicle’s speed and location.

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Iowa, StarChase, States