‘Air gun’ technology allows police to track suspects without chasing

MOORESVILLE, N.C. — High speed chases are so common and so dangerous, the Mooresville Police Department has decided to implement new technology as an alternative way of catching suspects -- without hurting themselves.

It’s unconventional, but a new “air gun” is how the department will begin curbing high speed chases.

Channel 9 has covered pursuits all across our area, including one ending in Cabarrus County a few weeks ago.

Instead of putting officers and innocent bystanders at risk, Mooresville police will use a launcher tag, called StarChase. When an officer thinks a pursuit is about to happen, they can deploy the device, launched from the hood of their cruiser.

It attaches to the suspect’s car, allowing officers to pull back. Officials can then use the GPS inside the tag to track the vehicle for up to eight hours, alerting other departments to assist with a possible arrest.

The whole process only lasts a few moments, and it’s surprisingly quiet.

“You’re probably not going to hear it tap the back of your vehicle,” said Mooresville Police Corporal Jeff Noble.

Noble said the technology is legal because North Carolina law allows officers to pursue and track suspects. The goal is to reduce damage to police cars and private property and, most importantly, keep people safe.

“We’re all about being as safe as we can,” Noble said. “There is always a risk in pursuits and we are aware of that.”

Currently, the technology is equipped on four of the police department’s vehicles. If it’s successful, they’ll expand it to other cruisers.

(CHOPPER 9: Police chase possible stolen car through 2 counties)