How the Austin Police Department’s Batmobile Technology Prevents High-Speed Chases
This story out of Rio Grande City from earlier in the week is the latest in a long list of reasons why high-speed police chases are bad for everybody. After discovering a pickup truck loaded with marijuana on Tuesday, the 15-minute chase had a conclusion that was bad news for the driver (a fifteen year old) and for witnesses. Via The Monitor:
[At] about 2 p.m., the truck crashed into three other vehicles and a business at Second and San Antonio streets, said Assistant Chief Noe Castillo of the Rio Grande City Police Department. The truck’s driver and a female driver of one of the other vehicles were transported to Starr County Medical Center for treatment of minor injuries.
Minor injuries beat major injuries for sure, but—as criminal justice blog Grits For Breakfast points out—at least one Texas city is looking for ways to avoid chase-related injuries entirely, by avoiding chases.
Austin police have outfitted a dozen cars with technology from a Virginia-based company called StarChase. The devices—which are apparently based on the technology used in t-shirt cannons—fire a GPS like a dart from the front of the police cruiser to the back of the car that would otherwise be chased. If there’s no chase happening, the speeds drop, and motorists, pedestrians, businesses, houses, stray animals, etc., are all less likely to be crashed into. Here’s a video depicting exactly how the things work.
There’s definitely a cool James Bond/Batman element to a tracking device that launches from the front of a car—and it’s nice to see technological advances in police field work that unlike, say, tasers, aren’t likely to have deadly unintended consequences.
(image via Flickr)