Some are hoping that the high speed police pursuit may soon be a thing of the past.
“There’s one person every day that dies from a police chase, a third of which are innocent bystanders,” said South Bend Common Councilman Derek Dieter, (D) At Large. “Each one is unique and different, but in the end, they (pursuits) are all dangerous.”
Dieter is a 39 year veteran of the South Bend Police Department who talked about new technology he believes
is a game changer. “It’s kind of like a James Bond, it shoots a dart that goes into the car.”
Dieter was talking about the Star Chase Pursuit Management Technology.
It features a laser guided dart that mounts on the front grill of a squad car, along with a compressed air launcher.
When a chase begins, the officer pushes a button that shoots the dart onto the back of the bad guy’s car.
The dart holds a GPS tracking device, which allows officers on the scene to slow down, back off, and follow at a safe speed and distance, while technology keeps track of every move.
“Everybody loves a police chase in the movies, you love it on TV, but you don’t see the blood and the guts and what happens when someone’s hit you, you just see a car crashing and you don’t see someone who is seriously hurt,” said Councilman Dieter.
At this point, the city has made no move to acquire the new technology but Dieter wants to get the discussion started well in advance of the summer budgeting process.
Dieter says a Star Chase unit retails for about $5,000 and the city has about 160 patrol cars. While that puts the potential price of the system in the $800,000 range, “A life, you know, which is the most important thing, property is one thing but the life of an innocent bystander, even a suspect or an officer you know, the expense, whatever you’re going to be talking, I think that’s worth it.”
Back in 2010, a high speed chase preceded the death of Mishawaka Police Corporal James Szuba.