PUEBLO — Time and time again car chases involving law enforcement have proven to be dangerous and costly. Last year, News5 Investigates uncovered some of the destruction left behind by suspects who ran from the cops in Pueblo.
Last year, News5 uncovered since 2014 more than 25 police cruisers in Pueblo were damaged in dangerous police chases when suspects refused to pull over. In the wake of our investigation, the department is making a change, deploying technology allowing them to track suspects instead of chase them.
A few weeks ago in Pueblo during an attempted traffic stop, the driver of a black Honda made the decision to pull away from the officer trying to pull the vehicle over. In this circumstance, the police department's pursuit policy wouldn't allow officers to chase, but this time officers have the technology to make sure the suspect doesn't get away.
The Pueblo Police officer shot a dart from the front grill of his cruiser which stuck on the back bumper of the vehicle, allowing officers to track this person running from the law.
Asking that we protect his identity, the officer agreed to give News5 a closer look at the dart he successfully deployed.
"It's made up of half plastic and it has some technology in the rear. The top is made up of a sponge, but on the inside is a magnet and then on the top, there is a very sticky substance that helps attach it to the vehicle," the officer said holding the dart.
Using mapping technology in their police vehicles, officers were able to track the Honda to a hotel where officers would safely make an arrest.
"I was able to shoot it onto the vehicle successfully and immediately pulled over and at no point were there any other vehicles who suspected what's going on," said the Pueblo Police Department officer.
Pueblo Police Chief Troy Davenport says this tech is working and is even helping officers track suspects to areas where they can solve additional crimes.
"It gives us their path of travel and I can tell you we've already used it three times here and at least in one instance multiple penalties were solved as a result of our ability to track that vehicle and find the driver," said Chief Davenport.
This Star Chase dart technology is being used by law enforcement agencies across Colorado and the country.
"We've seen it in Colorado. We've seen it across the nation where pursuits have gone very badly and people are injured or killed and a simple traffic violation is not worth that. It's huge knowing we can keep the community safe with something as simple as this one dart," said the officer.
The Pueblo Police Department started using this dart technology on September 1st, but other agencies across the state have been using it for years and say it's become an important crime-fighting tool.