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GPS Tracking Technology Is Ending Police Tracking

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Charleston, South Carolina (WCSC) – Catching the “bad guy” isn’t as easy as it sounds. Especially when the chase turns into a dangerous chase.

Lowcountry officials say there are a number of reasons why officers and agents are involved in pursuits, but suspects almost always face the same charges.

These chases can escalate quickly and can be dangerous and deadly during busy times.

“There were no pre-trace reports. [the driver] I was involved in crashes, I was involved in other vehicles,” Candy Priano details the events leading up to her daughter’s death in 2007.

Priano says it wasn’t until the law enforcement chase began that the situation turned deadly.

“Within two minutes of the chase, you destroyed my family and my daughter died on the dirty sidewalk,” Priano says. It was the night of her daughter Christie’s basketball game. She was a sophomore in high school.

Out of that tragedy, Priano started the non-profit PursuitSAFETY, an advocate for the pursuit and response of safer law enforcement.

The crash that killed Priano’s daughter happened in California, but the Lowcountry is no stranger to deadly pursuits.

In June 2022, Mary Alice and Shamrika Dent of Goose Creek died in an accident near Charleston International Airport. Investigators say her 12-year-old, who was driving her mother’s car, crashed into the Dent sisters and died.

“This is an incredibly heartbreaking problem,” said Trevor Fischbach, CEO of StarChase, the technology that is trying to end these dangerous pursuits. “Thousands of innocent lives are claimed by events of this nature. Some reports say more than 50,000 people are injured and more than 2,000 die each year.”

In data requested by the agency for the 2019-2021 period, the Charleston County Sheriff’s Office showed 452 traces, 144 of which involved some kind of injury. The sheriff’s office did not distinguish between bystander, suspect, and agent injuries, or property damage.

According to the Dorchester County Sheriff’s Office, there were 67 traces in the same three years. They were unable to provide how many people were involved in or ended up in accidents or injuries.

The Berkeley County Sheriff’s Office was able to provide the most detailed information. In 2019, the agency reports he had 68 chases, 24 accidents and seven bystander injuries. In 2020, there were 43 accidents with 89 traces and 9 injuries. Three suspects were killed in these chases. For 2021, the BCSO reports he has 73 accidents, 27 collisions and 5 injuries. Injuries and fatalities include suspects, agents, or third parties.

However, most agencies provided data showing the number of follow-up studies in which sheriff’s deputies were dismissed for safety risks. The agency says identifying risk factors in each situation is a big part of its tracking policy.

StarChase is trying to stop these chases and accidents once and for all.

“That’s where the technology comes in,” says Fischbach. “This allows officers to tag vehicles from a distance. In their judgment, if a suspect’s vehicle is tagged, they are followed every few seconds.”

StarChase works across jurisdictions, but only if all counties use the technology. Currently, no sheriff’s office or police department in the Lowcountry uses this technology.

DCSO and CCSO said they had heard of StarChase. The BCSO said otherwise, but officials there say they are interested in how it works. first of suspects.

“[In police chases]you’re behind someone, so this technology allows law enforcement to actually get in front of people and get in front of problems,” Fischbach says.

There are two methods of StarChase technology. This tag allows the officer to track the vehicle through her StarChase.

The other is an original design that was unveiled to law enforcement in 2014 and is mounted directly on a police car. Authorities can target this technology from inside the vehicle and deploy his cylindrical GPS tracker in the suspect’s vehicle. This may be while chasing or while parked.

Priano says technology like this may have helped prevent his daughter’s death.

“One of the things that technology will bring is that it will become one of the tools police use, but I believe it’s not a panacea,” Priano says.

“This technique is very helpful in rewriting equations to avoid very detrimental consequences,” says Fischbach. “That’s what this technology is for. It’s to really rewrite the often tragic equations.”

Priano, Frishbach, StarChase Department of the solution. Fischbach says it’s just a matter of agencies across the country implementing it into their current policies and pursuit practices. says that there is

When asked about using StarChase, Dorchester County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Rick Carson said:

Definitely a great alternative for fast tracking. According to the information available to us, the installation and purchase of projectiles is prohibitively expensive. Equipping just Patrol, Traffic, K-9, and his SET team would be very costly. It’s nice to have just one or two cars with that kind of technology, policing a county that’s nearly 600 square miles, nearly 45 miles from end to end, but that unit is nearby. What are the odds? Tracking? Such expenditure is not viable for our agency.

Charleston County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Andrew Knapp said of the technology:

We are aware of this technology, but do not consider it a viable option for our agency. We have detailed policies. This policy emphasizes the safe operation of agency vehicles during tracking and allows agents to terminate tracking at any time and for any reason. Agents should continually evaluate whether the risks associated with tracking outweigh the risks of not arresting them immediately. Of his 192 pursuits in 2021, 60 were terminated by a pursuing agent or supervisor. After tracking is completed, the agent may use investigative tools to identify the parties involved and attempt follow-up if necessary. Additionally, all pursuits are reviewed after the fact to ensure compliance with our policies and identify any need for improvement. All lieutenants also receive annual bloc training in operating emergency vehicles.

I did not hear back from the Berkeley County Sheriff’s Office.

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