Tracker helps local law enforcement

The St. Joseph Police Department has been using a tracker method to help crack down on pursuits and stolen vehicles. It has also helped reduce the risk of causing more danger to the public.

Over the past few years, local law enforcement have utilized different programs to crack down on chases and stolen vehicles.

Captain Jeff Wilson with the St. Joseph Police Department said those measures have helped officers.

“It’s allowed us to address some of the difficult issues that we’ve been facing in this city, primarily, some of the stolen vehicles,” Wilson said.

One tool police have been using is StarChase, a tagging mechanism that attaches to a vehicle and gives officers the ability to track it through GPS coordinates.

It has also reduced the amount of danger for those who happen to be around during a pursuit.

“Those people that choose to go out and steal vehicles around the city and then run from us, this piece of equipment helps, where in the past a lot of times our supervisors and officers would have to terminate these pursuits just because of the inherent danger of it,” Wilson said. “Many cases we’ve been able to make arrests, but in even more cases, we’ve been able to at least recover the stolen vehicle where we’ve utilized this equipment.”

Wilson said there is a level of training in order to work the tracker properly.

“It does take a certain skill level to be able to deploy this and utilize this equipment. It takes forethought on the part of the officers to be prepared,” Wilson said.

Wilson said officers are doing everything they can to recover and make arrests.

“The chief has been very clear in stating that we recognize the stolen vehicles are an issue that we face in this city, and at times it’s high. We do make every effort to have special enforcement initiatives to be able to target stolen vehicles, investigate those crimes and, of course, utilize equipment,” Wilson said.

Maykayla Hancock can be reached at Follow her on Twitter: @NPNowHancock.