Feeds

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

La la land syndrome reaches plod Q branch

Build a business case: developing custom apps

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.®

Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable

More from The Register

next story
The Sun took a day off last week and made NO sunspots
Someone needs to get that lazy star cooking again before things get cold around here
Boffins discuss AI space program at hush-hush IARPA confab
IBM, MIT, plenty of others invited to fill Uncle Sam's spy toolchest, but where's Google?
Famous 'Dish' radio telescope to be emptied in budget crisis: CSIRO
Radio astronomy suffering to protect Square Kilometre Array
BEST BATTERY EVER: All lithium, all the time, plus a dash of carbon nano-stuff
We have found the Holy Grail (of batteries) - boffins
ASTEROID'S SHOCK DINO-KILLING SPREE just bad luck - boffins
Sauricide WASN'T inevitable, reckon scientists
Bad back? Show some spine and stop popping paracetamol
Study finds common pain-killer doesn't reduce pain or shorten recovery
Forty-five years ago: FOOTPRINTS FOUND ON MOON
NASA won't be back any time soon, sadly
Jurassic squawk: Dinos were Earth's early FEATHERED friends
Boffins research: Ancient dinos may all have had 'potential' fluff
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Seven Steps to Software Security
Seven practical steps you can begin to take today to secure your applications and prevent the damages a successful cyber-attack can cause.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.