British Columbia

Delta police use GPS darts to track fleeing vehicles, say they're first in Canada

Eight Delta Police vehicles are equipped with GPS dart technology that will help officers track offending vehicles that fail to stop.

'Everything worked as it should' in initial use of system designed to cut risk of pursuits

Eight Delta police vehicles are equipped with technology that can launch a GPS projectile from the grill of a police car at a suspect vehicle. The department says it will allow officers to track vehicles while not engaging in a pursuit. (Delta police)

Eight Delta police vehicles have been equipped with GPS dart technology that allows officers to attach a tracking projectile onto a suspect vehicle that fails to stop.

According to spokeswoman Sharlene Brooks, more than 70 vehicles tried to evade police in the Vancouver suburb last year.

"We really knew that we needed to have some additional tools in order to capture the offenders while mitigating risk to the general public because we know through experience there's inherent risk involved when you're engaged in a pursuit," said Brooks.

Brooks said the police department is the first in Canada to use the StarChase Pursuit Management Technology.

A compressed-air launcher mounted on the front of a police vehicle is ready to fire the GPS tracking projectile. (Delta Police)

The dart is placed inside a compartment on the grill of the police vehicle and can be activated from inside. 

Once launched, it attaches to the rear bumper or licence plate of an offending vehicle, and the officer is able to track it through a GPS system.

The first deployment of the GPS dart occurred on Wednesday evening when an officer spotted a vehicle driving erratically and failing to stop.

"He [the officer] activated the emergency equipment and launched the dart," said Brooks. 

The driver eventually stopped and violation tickets were issued.

"Everything worked as it should."

Brooks said there are no plans to expand the use of the system until the force can see how well it works.

The Delta Police Foundation paid the cost of $1,500 per vehicle, for a total of  $12,000.

A police officer uses an activation panel in a vehicle equipped with StarChase Pursuit Management Technology. (Delta Police)


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