FHP 'shoots' GPS device onto fleeing suspect's vehicle, mid-chase

Dash camera video from the Florida Highway Patrol shows a GPS tracking device being deployed from a patrol car onto a fleeing suspect's vehicle, mid-chase.

It happens so quickly, you might miss it. The trooper speeds up as he pursues the vehicle, getting as close as he can without causing a rear-end collision.

When the patrol car is just feet away, a black, disc-shaped object shoots from the hood of the patrol car and attaches to the back of the suspect's vehicle.

FHP calls it the StarChase system, which allows officers to monitor the movements of a fleeing suspect without engaging in a potentially dangerous road pursuit.

In this particular video, an FHP trooper was called to assist New Port Richey police with a pursuit. In an incident report, Sgt. M.A. Hollis, Jr. said he considered a Precision Immobilization Technique, commonly known as a PIT maneuver, but decided against it.

Instead, he deployed the StarChase tag, which allowed the officers in pursuit of the suspect to back away and the Tampa Bay Regional Communications Center, (TBRCC), to remotely monitor the fleeing vehicle's movements.

Sgt. Hollis' report details how the device is deployed.

"I was able to position my patrol vehicle directly behind the fleeing vehicle and once my StarChase system indicated 'Fire,' I was able to successfully deploy the [StarChase] tag to the center rear of the vehicle... I notified TBRCC of a successful deployment of the StarChase tag and continued to monitor the vehicle to verify the tag remained affixed to the fleeing vehicle and that TBRCC had the tracking program running and were successfully tracking."

The report does not say how information about the suspect vehicle's location was relayed after the device was deployed, but the incident report says the suspect was eventually apprehended and taken into custody.

The technology is more than 10 years old, but it's not clear for how long, or how often it is used by FHP troopers.