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OPP to fire GPS darts at fleeing vehicles to avoid high-speed chases

Last Updated May 19, 2017 at 7:54 pm EDT

As is custom during any long weekend, the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) will be out in full force keeping an eye out for aggressive, distracted, and inebriated drivers. Their mandate to keep our roads safe also means that, when appropriate, they’ll disengage from high-speed pursuits that could put public safety in jeopardy.

But make no mistake; you won’t get away for long.

For the first time in Ontario, the OPP is set to deploy new technology that will allow them to track fleeing vehicles.

It’s called StarChase Pursuit Management Technology. Here’s how it works: If police find themselves in a high-speed chase, a police vehicle armed with the technology will shoot a dart-like device that sticks to the suspect vehicle. Police can then halt the pursuit, while the GPS device allows police to track the vehicle.

“The GPS is giving us the ability to monitor these vehicles remotely away from the scene … taking away the risk to public safety,” Sgt. Kerry Schmidt explained during a demonstration on Friday. “It gives us a better opportunity to monitor and finally intercept this vehicle when we are ready.”

“Now we have a better opportunity to track this vehicle in a much safer environment than a high-risk suspect apprehension pursuit, which we don’t want to do because that is putting the public at risk.”

The technology was first used in Canada by police in Delta, B.C.

“It allows the police to back right off and not have to pursue at all and to be able to track that vehicle by a mapping device and that mapping device would show where that vehicle stops and then we can just pick up that vehicle,” Delta Police Chief Neil Dubord told NEWS 1130 last winter.