Los Angeles Police Chief William Bratton has unveiled a new and strange weapon in the effort to halt high-speed pursuits, says the Los Angeles Times. It is an air-propelled miniature dart equipped with a global positioning device. It sticks to a fleeing motorist’s vehicle and emits a radio signal to police. Bratton hailed the dart as “the big new idea” and said that if the pilot program was successful, Los Angeles’ fix of police chases could be a thing of the past. “Instead of us pushing them doing 70 or 80 miles an hour,” he said. “This device allows us not to have to pursue after the car. It allows us to start vectoring where the car is. Even if they bail out of the car, we’ll have pretty much instantaneously information where they are.”
U.S. Department of Justice officials, suggested that the StarChase system be tested in Los Angeles. A small number of patrol cars will be equipped with the compressed air launchers, which fire the miniature GPS receiver in a sticky compound resembling a golf ball, for four to six months as a trial. There were more than 600 pursuits in Los Angeles and more than 100,000 nationwide last year. Critics say that police pursuits can endanger bystanders and officers.