Here’s a new device cops can use to catch bad guys: a compressed air gun that shoots sticky GPS balls at fleeing vehicles.
Mounted in the front of the police cruiser, the Starchase system’s launcher is similar to those T-shirt guns you see at ball games, except they’re firing a GPS tracking device that’s wrapped up in a sticky substance that adheres to a fleeing vehicle. The device can send precise location information to the police computers or phones in real time.
During tests for media in St. Petersburg, Fla., the drawbacks of this cool tech were immediately apparent. When cops tried to shoot this little GPS doodad onto a (parked) car, only one of the four attempts was successful. Then there’s the cost — $5,000 to hide this James-Bond-like cannon in a cop-car’s grille, and then those single-use projectiles which cost $250 each.
Come to think of it, though, cop budgets are rich these days. They are so awash in cash with all of their petty weed busts that bring them “War on Drugs” bonuses and impounded property — along with generous DHS budgets equipping cop shops as if they were part of the Defense Department — that a few bucks to catch fleeing felons is a mere drop in the bucket.
Instead of paramilitary gear and pot busts, this is the kind of thing police should be spending money on. If this gadget could be perfected so the GPS probes stick every time, it might just save some lives. Bravo.