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DPS becomes the first state-level law enforcement agency in the country to deploy the StarChase Pursuit Management System

Wednesday, September 30, 2009 -

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The system, which DPS has already used with great success during pursuits, launches a GPS tracking device at fleeing vehicles

Earlier this summer, the Arizona Department of Public Safety (DPS) became the first state-level law enforcement agency in the country to deploy the state-of-the-art StarChase Pursuit Management System. StarChase is a real-time tagging and tracking system used to reduce all of the inherent risks related to dangerous high-speed police pursuits.

The system is comprised of a compressed-air launcher mounted in the grille of a police vehicle. With the push of a button by a law enforcement officer, the compressed-air launcher deploys a GPS tracking tag that adheres to the suspect vehicle. The tracking tag transmits location-based updates that enable law enforcement dispatchers to track the vehicle’s location and movements via a secure, web-based mapping application. Once the suspect vehicle is tagged, dispatchers can monitor the movements of the vehicle while keeping officers fully apprised of its location.

DPS has used the system with success multiple times during incidents where traditional pursuits would have occurred. One such incident took place on July 7, 2009, at about 9:00 p.m., when DPS Highway Patrol Officer Korey Lankow observed a rust-colored 2001 Chevrolet Silverado pickup truck commit a traffic violation on Interstate 19 in Southern Arizona. Lankow positioned his patrol vehicle behind the Chevrolet and activated his red and blue emergency lights. The driver of the Silverado eventually pulled over for the officer, but started to drive off as the officer approached his vehicle. At that point, Officer Lankow deployed the StarChase system from his hand-held remote. The GPS tracking tag adhered to the Silverado allowing dispatchers at DPS to monitor the movements of the vehicle that eventually entered the City of Tucson.

Dispatchers tracked the vehicle via computer and observed it come to a stop in Tucson. Dispatchers sent officers to the vehicle’s location. The vehicle turned out to be at a residence. When officers approached the vehicle, they found 10 undocumented immigrants lying in the truck’s bed and passenger compartment. Nine of them were teenage girls who had been told by the human smuggler they were being taken to Phoenix and eventually to the east coast. Border Patrol took the undocumented immigrants into custody. ICE began investigation into a possible drop house located nearby where the human smugglers involved in this incident were believed to be heading.

“This is just one example of how our agency has greatly benefited from the StarChase System. Because the smuggling of drugs, guns and humans is so prevalent along Arizona’s highways, we at DPS must use all of the tools available to us to apprehend those committing such crimes, especially if the suspects decide to run from our officers. The StarChase system not only helps us track and apprehend fleeing suspects, but it helps us locate them and take them into custody without engaging in pursuits that could jeopardize public safety,” said Roger Vanderpool, director of the Arizona Department of Public Safety.

“AzDPS recent stolen-car recoveries and subsequent arrests, all without having to engage in high speed pursuits, is proof positive that the Pursuit Management System is a new answer to a serious issue,” said Trevor Fischbach, vice president of sales and business development for StarChase. “Now there is a proven alternative to high-speed chases and other potentially dangerous strategies that will save lives and reduce damage to vehicles and other property.”

About Starchase LLC:

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, Virginia and has been in operation since 2001. The StarChase products are patent protected in several countries, including the United States.

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The Arizona Department of Public Safety is a state-level law enforcement agency whose mission is to protect human life and property by enforcing state laws, deterring criminal activity and providing vital support to the State of Arizona and its citizens.