Up to 400 people in the U.S. are killed each year because of police pursuits, police consultant Chuck Drago tells NPR. In the Kansas City area, where 23 have been killed in 706 pursuit crashes in the last decade, Aaron Ambrose, is a former police chief in the area, says that most of the time, pursuits just aren’t worth it. There are exceptions. “Now, if somebody’s grabbed a little kid and they’re holding them hostage — some guy went into the neighborhood and snatched up a kid and they’re driving around — I say we follow them until the wheels fall off. You’re never going to let that vehicle out of your sight regardless,” he says.
Technology could help cut down on the number of pursuits. Police already use helicopters and may use drones in the future. StarChase shoots a GPS-tracking dart from the front of a police car onto a fleeing vehicle. “We’ve had officers that have tagged vehicles and report back that instead of jumping in their car and flying up to 100 miles an hour, they walked back to their vehicle, they get on the radio with dispatch, and they coordinate the takedown using the GPS and there’s no need for high speeds,” says company president Trevor Fischbach. StarChase is expensive, costing $5,000 per car. Jonathan Farris, former head of the group PursuitSAFETY, says there needs to be more consistent chase policies among police departments.