Sedgwick County deputies using GPS darts to track chase suspects

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – During the early morning chase that went through multiple counties, the Sedgwick County Sheriff’s Department deployed a new type of device that is being more commonly used around the country to make pursuits safer.

For the last six months, the department has been using a technology becoming more commonly used by law enforcement.

It’s a dart and once law enforcement officers are within about 20 feet of the suspect vehicle, they can deploy a dart that attaches to it.

It sends out a GPS signal so they can track the fleeing suspect. During the multi-county pursuit that ended outside Udall early Thursday morning, deputies tried using the dart but said they were under gunfire from the suspect.

“We were too far back it did not strike anything, but yes, we did deploy it,” says Sheriff Jeff Easter.

Sheriff Easter says just like they would search a car in a public parking lot for contraband or guns, because the dart is in open view, it is legal.

Though unsuccessful this time, Easter says it’s been very effective.

More importantly Easter says it can also dramatically reduce the danger during a high speed pursuit.

Easter says, “In this case here, it is actually a safety mechanism in hopes of slowing the chase down in hopes that I can stop the chase, and the suspect gets out of the car and runs on foot because it is a lot safer.”

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