Ross: New criminal pursuit technology means no ‘Get Out of Jail Free’

Feb 7, 2023, 7:55 AM | Updated: 9:29 am
(Photo from KIRO 7)
(Photo from KIRO 7)

The legislature is still looking for a way to fix the state’s police pursuit policy – a policy that a lot of police chiefs think is fundamentally flawed, including Redmond Police Chief Darrell Lowe.

“As it stands right now, the pursuit restrictions are too restrictive. It has empowered criminals to have a ‘Get Out of Jail Free card,’ and that’s a dangerous path to go down,” Lowe said.

More from Dave Ross: Chinese balloon shot down was ripe for counter-surveillance

But he also understands that police chases are dangerous. So he outfitted his department with a system made by a company in Virginia called StarChase.

“StarChase is a GPS-enabled technology, which allows an officer to tag a vehicle when that vehicle comes to a stop,” Lowe explained. “We are then able to safely approach and take the suspect into custody, thus minimizing pursuits.”

If a cop pulls up on a stolen car, he pushes a button, and a launcher mounted on the grille of the police car fires a sticky GPS-homing device that gloms onto the target vehicle and sends out its location and speed every three seconds to a computer map in the police cruiser.

It’s basically like an Apple tag, except with an infinite range. And the idea is to attach this thing to the suspect car without the crook realizing it, so he thinks the cops have given up.

“So if they don’t see the police, then the hope is that they would not endanger the public, and we would monitor them,” Lowe said. “As an example, if [the criminal] stopped at the mall and he got out. At that point, we know where the vehicle is.”

And does it work? Yes, it does.

“One of our deployments, it was, in fact, a stolen car. And another two deployments, it was an individual suspected of being involved in organized retail theft,” Lowe said.

But what’s really special about this technology is that I heard this interview on the Jason Rantz Show on our sister station KTTH.

Jason, as most of you know, is a conservative who believes in small government. But he has no problem with giving the government the tools to secretly track suspects who steal things, and neither do I.

Redmond’s new police tech working in tandem with WA pursuit laws

So if the goal is to stop crooks without engaging in dangerous police chases, I think there can be a political consensus. Even the ACLU says it’s legal!

“This is completely legal. It’s been vetted through the ACLU, the fact that the officer has, at a minimum reasonable suspicion, but in most cases, probable cause to believe that the person is involved in criminal activity,” Lowe said. “It meets the legal standards for deployment.”

And yes, he was more than happy to go on the air with Jason and describe what they’re doing though the crooks might be listening.

“If the crooks learn about it, then yes, this is a tool that the Redmond Police Department has available. So the moral of the story is don’t come to Redmond and commit crime,” Lowe concluded.

Listen to Seattle’s Morning News with Dave Ross and Colleen O’Brien weekday mornings from 5 – 9 a.m. on KIRO Newsradio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to the podcast here.

Dave Ross on KIRO Newsradio 97.3 FM
  • listen to dave rossTune in to KIRO Newsradio weekdays at 5am for Dave Ross on Seattle's Morning News.

Dave's Commentary

KIRO Newsradio Opinion

Dave Ross

Ross: Trump’s post-indictment popularity shows character no longer counts

It finally happened – not only was Donald Trump indicted, he was very indicted, in hindsight, none of it was necessary.
2 days ago
Dave Ross

Ross: Where are all the pro-life activists trying to stop school shootings?

There is one group that has been silent in all this, the pro-life activists who pushed to overturn Roe v Wade.
3 days ago
Nashville shooting...
Dave Ross

Ross: After the Nashville shooting, is this finally enough?

This is another case where all the guns were legally purchased. Yet gun sellers can legally refuse to sell. So where’s the no-buy list?
4 days ago
Dave Ross

Ross: We need to trick the wealthy into wanting to pay the capital gains tax

As the reality of the capital gains tax sets in, we’re seeing pushback from the wealthy. So, I proposed that idea to our 'tax whisperer.'
5 days ago
Dave Ross

Ross: Oh no, the capital gains tax could downgrade my yacht purchase

It’s humiliating! I’d have to settle for the Majesty 100 yacht. Now instead of 180 feet, I have to shoehorn my guests into 100 feet?
6 days ago
Travis Mayfield

Mayfield: Helping others through loss with empathy, care, and memory

Death, loss, and grief are hard things, so when we see others dealing with them sometimes our instinct is to turn away.
9 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Compassion International...

Brock Huard and Friends Rally Around The Fight for First Campaign

Professional athletes are teaming up to prevent infant mortality and empower women at risk in communities facing severe poverty.
Emergency Preparedness...

Prepare for the next disaster at the Emergency Preparedness Conference

Being prepared before the next emergency arrives is key to preserving businesses and organizations of many kinds.
SHIBA volunteer...

Volunteer to help people understand their Medicare options!

If you’re retired or getting ready to retire and looking for new ways to stay active, becoming a SHIBA volunteer could be for you!
safety from crime...

As crime increases, our safety measures must too

It's easy to be accused of fearmongering regarding crime, but Seattle residents might have good reason to be concerned for their safety.
Comcast Ready for Business Fund...
Ilona Lohrey | President and CEO, GSBA

GSBA is closing the disparity gap with Ready for Business Fund

GSBA, Comcast, and other partners are working to address disparities in access to financial resources with the Ready for Business fund.

Medicare open enrollment is here and SHIBA can help!

The SHIBA program – part of the Office of the Insurance Commissioner – is ready to help with your Medicare open enrollment decisions.
Ross: New criminal pursuit technology means no ‘Get Out of Jail Free’