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July 2014 Advances & Applications

Where do the good ideas come from? In this column, we offer our readers the opportunity to learn about—and benefit from—some of the cutting-edge technologies being implemented by law enforcement colleagues around the world.

Northwestern University Center for Public Safety Announces the 11th Edition of Traffic Crash Investigation

Northwestern University Center for Public Safety (NUCPS) is pleased to announce the fall 2014 release of the Traffic Collision Investigation, 11th edition textbook. The 2014 edition contains more than 800 full-color photographs and drawings that illustrate how to document and analyze traffic crashes. The 2014 edition includes two new chapters addressing advancements in the field and responding to requests and questions posed by practitioners in the field.

“J. Stannard Baker’s approach to traffic crash investigation—which he developed here at NUCPS more than 70 years ago—is the foundation of our books, and we’re thrilled to be able to offer our students and professional crash investigators a resource that honors that foundation while also addressing 21st century technology and practices,” said Roy Lucke, Director of Highway and Transportation Safety Programs at NUCPS.

Requests from students and users of previous editions of the book resulted in the inclusion of a second new chapter, “Investigation of Hit and Run Crashes,” by Roger W. Barrette, Adam M. Hyde, and Richard S. Brown. While elements of hit-and-run investigations have always been included in the book, a full chapter of guidance on how to investigate these often challenging incidents is part of the new edition.

Traffic Collision Investigation deals primarily with data collection at crash scenes, as well as some data interpretation.

For more information, visit

Port Tampa Bay Selects PlateSmart’s ARES Enterprise LPR Solution

PlateSmart Technologies announces that Port Tampa Bay has implemented its ARES enterprise License Plate Recognition (LPR) solution as another tool to enhance port security. The ARES software provides Port Tampa Bay with constant data regarding all vehicles entering and leaving certain facilities, as well as analytic features to help security personnel detect suspicious vehicle activity. With ARES in place, port security staff have real-time situational awareness and solid evidence for forensic investigations.

Port Tampa Bay, the largest port in Florida, is one of the busiest in the United States, providing service to luxury passenger liners as well as freighters and tankers containing many tons of cargo on a daily basis. Additionally, the port has a number of ship repair facilities. With so much to oversee, the Port Authority chose the ARES solution from PlateSmart as the best tool to help protect port interests and streamline security processes.

“Port Tampa Bay is dedicated to seeking cutting-edge technologies that increase security and efficiency for our tenants, customers, and community,” a spokesperson for the Tampa Port Authority said. “Further, we are proud that we were able to partner with a local company to deploy this innovative technology at key locations on our facilities.”

For more information, visit

StarChase GPS Tracking Technology to Reduce Risk and Liabilities from High-Speed Pursuits Effectively Used to Bring Safe Conclusions When Apprehending Human Traffickers

In a written report, Dr. Geoff Alpert, a nationally recognized expert on police pursuits, called StarChase LLC a “game changer for law enforcement.” These accolades followed the conclusion of test bed research funded by the National Institute of Justice (NIJ), which demonstrates that law enforcement’s use of the system results in apprehension rates greater than 80 percent and with no injuries, fatalities, or property damage. StarChase uses GPS technology to tag and track a fleeing suspect vehicle in near real time.

The StarChase pursuit management system is mounted behind the grille of a police vehicle. When confronted with a suspect who will not stop once lights and sirens have been activated, officers can use a laser sight to target the fleeing vehicle and then deploy a cylinder-shaped GPS tag from the grille-mounted launcher. The GPS tag adheres to the suspect’s vehicle and then transmits precise coordinates and speed back to police dispatch, enabling all responders to view the location and movements of the tagged vehicle in near real time on a digital roadmap via a secure Internet connection. Pursuing officers can ease off of the suspect’s vehicle, while precisely tracking and directing other appropriate response units to assist with the intercept without the need for dangerous, high-speed pursuits. Officers remain on the street, a potentially dangerous pursuit is avoided, and the suspect can be safely apprehended.

“Criminals will continue to run knowing that agencies will not chase them,” said Officer Korey Lankow of the Arizona Department of Public Safety. “With StarChase, now that equation has been erased. It’s kind of like having a partner on board because StarChase is there to assist me when called upon.”

The system has been especially effective in apprehending suspects that almost are certain to evade arrest, such as in cases of vehicle theft and human trafficking. Such pursuits have led to especially bad outcomes, given vehicle theft and trafficking suspects’ willingness take extreme risks in order to avoid being apprehended. In many instances, the results are crashes, which take the lives of innocent bystanders, law enforcement officers, and the people being transported as cargo in vehicles often loaded well beyond capacity.

The StarChase pursuit management system is being used by law enforcement officers in a dozen states and has been credited with scores of successful tags, resulting in arrests without crashes or injuries. ♦

For more information, visit



From The Police Chief, vol. LXXXI, no. 7, July 2014. Copyright held by the International Association of Chiefs of Police, 515 North Washington Street, Alexandria, VA 22314 USA.

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