St. Pete police try GPS system to reduce high speed chases

5:29 PM, Oct 11, 2013   |    comments
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St. Petersburg, FL - Since January 1st of last year, police in St. Petersburg have been involved in 39 high speed pursuits resulting in 21 crashes. Both are numbers the department would like to reduce.

Enter StarChase, a GPS tracking device that officers can fire from the grill of their cruiser that attaches to the back of a suspect's vehicle. Police say the device can then allow officers to fall back and still track the bad guy.

"We are willing at the police department to try something new. If it works, we think we've added a very valuable tool to our tool chest. If it doesn't, then we go back and try and find something better," Assistant Police Chief Melanie Bevan said on Friday during a demonstration of the system to the media.

The manufacturer of StarChase, along with federal grant money, is paying for the system to be tested by the St. Pete Police Department for six months.

Bevan declined to say how many squads would be outfitted with the device during the test period but she did say it would be installed on both some marked and unmarked cars.

"I think we'll make the best of it and like I said if it works great, if it doesn't we go back to the drawing board."

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