APD seeing success tracking car-chase suspects with GPS system

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – It’s supposed to be a way to keep the public safe while taking down criminals. Albuquerque police have started to use a special tracking system to help them fight crime.

When police are chasing a suspect, sometimes, innocent people are killed, and other times, people are badly injured. Chases have cost the city a lot of money.

“We had multiple lawsuits on issues that happened with chasing. So, we have changed a lot of our protocols in respect to that. This technology is part of it,” says Mayor Tim Keller.

That technology is the StarChase GPS tracking system. It’s a GPS system that’s attached to the front of an officer’s patrol car. With a push of a button, it shoots a tracker that sticks to the suspect’s vehicle.

Mayor Keller says the Albuquerque Police Department invested in the program a few years ago, and now, officers are using it more often.

“This is a much safer way than chasing,” says Mayor Keller.

Earlier this month, police say Julie Padilla refused to pull over after she shoplifted from the Walgreens on Coors and Sequoia. A criminal complaint says Padilla nearly hit multiple cars as she tried to get away.

Instead of continuing to chase her, the three responding officers tried to deploy the StarChase. Police say they’ve had to change their chase policy, and this technology allows them to track suspects on the run.

APD has 20 of the StarChase devices with 20 more on the way. They say it works about 60% of the time.

The Bernalillo County Sheriff also used the StarChase in recent years, but last August the department decided to stop the project as they review policy and costs.

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