Feeds

LAPD patrol cars to get sticky-GPS-tracker cannon?

La la land syndrome reaches plod Q branch

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

Los Angeles cops will be able to fire sticky GPS tracker devices at fleeing miscreants' cars as of next year, according to reports.

The StarChase Pursuit Management System uses compressed-air laser-sighted launchers mounted at the front of a patrol car to fire "a miniature GPS receiver, battery and radio transmitter, embedded in an epoxy compound," according to its makers. The radio data channel is cellular, which means that absconding villains can be tracked anywhere within network coverage.

The idea of StarChase is that it could reduce the need for dangerous high-speed pursuits, letting cops fall back and track their quarry at leisure rather than burning rubber aggressively. Then, presumably, other units could move to trap the bandits later on, when the tactical situation was more favourable.

StarChase went through beta testing with the LAPD in 2006. At that time LAPD Chief Willian Bratton said "we believe this technology and the trials associated with it, will potentially give police officers yet another tool to minimize the damaging risks associated with high-speed pursuits. My goal is to protect not only my officers, but the general public as well.”

Now Wired magazine suggests that the LA plods will be fielding the kit to the street next year. The magazine quotes Sergeant Dan Gomez of the LAPD Tactical Technology Unit as saying that StarChase "has real James Bond appeal."

We hate to cast the first bucket of cold water, but this doesn't seem terribly practical. You'd probably hear the trackers splatting into the back of your car - they'd need to be flying fast. If not, you'd notice the targeting lasers glaring from the pursuing police cruiser. If you miss all of that, the cops giving up or dropping back would surely be a warning sign.

So switch on your combined GPS/cellular jammer - legal for US purchase. Or stop briefly, scrape off the sticky bug with a knife, and throw it away - or better still stick it to another vehicle. Or put it in a tin can or smash it with a hammer, if you want to silence it. You might want to do these things in a tunnel or enclosed car park.

Etc, etc. You'd need to be a pretty dumb villain for this sort of thing to be much good. Wired reckons that StarChase might put a lot of news chopper pilots out of work. Probably not, actually. It surely won't put many police pilots on the dole.®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Rosetta probot drilling DENIED: Philae has its 'LEG in the AIR'
NOT best position for scientific fulfillment
'Yes, yes... YES!' Philae lands on COMET 67P
Plucky probot aces landing on high-speed space rock - emotional scenes in Darmstadt
THERE it is! Philae comet lander FOUND in EXISTING Rosetta PICS
Crumb? Pixel? ALIEN? Better, it's a comet-catcher!
SEX BEAST SEALS may be egging each other on to ATTACK PENGUINS
Boffin: 'I think the behaviour is increasing in frequency'
HUMAN DNA 'will be FOUND ON MOON' – rocking boffin Brian Cox
Crowdfund plan to stimulate Blighty's space programme
Post-pub nosh neckfiller: The MIGHTY Scotch egg
Off to the boozer? This delicacy might help mitigate the effects
I'M SO SORRY, sobs Rosetta Brit boffin in 'sexist' sexy shirt storm
'He is just being himself' says proud mum of larger-than-life physicist
NASA launches new climate model at SC14
75 days of supercomputing later ...
prev story

Whitepapers

Choosing cloud Backup services
Demystify how you can address your data protection needs in your small- to medium-sized business and select the best online backup service to meet your needs.
Getting started with customer-focused identity management
Learn why identity is a fundamental requirement to digital growth, and how without it there is no way to identify and engage customers in a meaningful way.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Internet Security Threat Report 2014
An overview and analysis of the year in global threat activity: identify, analyze, and provide commentary on emerging trends in the dynamic threat landscape.
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.