'James Bond' Device May End Police Pursuits
DES MOINES, Iowa —Police chases are dangerous. Sometimes people get hurt or even killed.
But a new piece of technology in Iowa may soon make police pursuits a thing of the past.
The secret weapon is mounted in the grill of an Iowa State Patrol cruiser. When the trooper hits a button in the car or on a key fob, the suspect's car is tagged by the Star Chase system.
The trooper is free to slow down and follow the car with a computer. It's like something out of a James Bond movie.
A lid pops open in the grill and the tracking bullet shoots out, sticking to the bad guy’s trunk.
“If you had told me 16 years ago that I would have had a cannon on the front of my car, I wouldn't have believed it,” said Trooper Tim Sieleman.
But now, Sieleman has the real thing.
Troopers said the device came in handy Wednesday night in a pursuit in western Iowa. After deploying the device, troopers were able to turn off their lights and end the chase.
“We shut it down, tracked him over into Omaha,” said Sieleman.
No injuries. No loss of life.
“After they think the officer has disengaged, they back down to normal speeds to blend in with traffic so they don't get noticed again,” said Sieleman.
Then, law enforcement can make a more subdued pursuit, tracking and eventually capturing the suspect.
But the system comes with a hefty price tag.
“Usually there's a price shock to it because the system is $5,000 and each round is $500,” said Sieleman.
But troopers said it takes out the risk, ending potentially life-threatening chases before they begin, and increases the chance the suspect ends up in custody.
Right now, only one vehicle in Iowa has the technology, but troopers said plans are underway to add at least five more very soon.
StarChase LLC is a company specializing in tagging and tracking pursuit management solutions for the law enforcement sector. The privately held company is based in Virginia Beach, Va., and has been in operation since 2001. The StarChase products are patent protected in several countries, including the United States.