How Law Enforcement Use GPS Tracking

June 19, 2018

GPS tracking devices are a covert and simple to use anti-theft device. They are an extra layer of security that law enforcement recommends using to ensure a swift recovery of your vehicle or asset. Tracking devices offer a peace of mind and makes law enforcement more efficient. By installing a GPS tracker on your vehicle or asset, you are thief-proofing it. Should you report it as stolen, the police can ensure a swift recovery.

Police and law enforcement also use GPS tracking within their own department. It is standard practice for law enforcement to equip all patrol vehicles with GPS tracking devices, because, believe it or not, police cars are also subject to theft and vandalism. Therefore, GPS tracking devices are used to keep their officers secure and much like a business monitoring their fleet, law enforcement use tracking devices to monitor the location of their vehicles for efficient patrol management.

 

There are also more elaborate uses of GPS tracking in law enforcement. StarChase, a US based company, developed the world’s first projectile launched GPS tracking device. Either deployed by a handheld launcher, or with an air-canon mounted in the police car’s front grille, StarChase launches a cylindrical GPS tracking device with a magnet and adhesive attached at the end. The system was developed to reduce the dangers and need of high-speed pursuits.

 

Having the ability to track vehicles makes theft prevention and vehicle recovery an easier task for law enforcement. To encourage the use of GPS tracking device, and, more importantly, as a means of reducing car theft, GPS tracking devices have been used as part of the Stolen Vehicle Rapid Recovery Initiative (SVRRI) by the Victoria Police and the National Motor Vehicle Theft Reduction Council (NMVTRC). This voluntary initiative sees a thousand vehicles in the high-risk areas of southern Melbourne equipped with GPS tracking devices in an effort to deter car thieves and make vehicle recovery swift.

 

Some people have misconceptions about GPS tracking devices, believing that they are a loophole for law enforcement and government agencies to spy on their vehicle movements. The truth is, whether you are part of the theft-reduction initiative or you purchased and installed a GPS tracker on your own volition, it is illegal law enforcement to track your vehicle without a warrant and prior notice. The only time they are allowed to track your vehicle is if you reported it as stolen and given them your tracker details, or if your vehicle is suspected, beyond reasonable doubt, of being involved in criminal activity and a warrant is issued. It is also illegal for law enforcement to covertly install a GPS tracker on any vehicle. The only times they are allowed to install a tracking device on a vehicle is if it’s part of a conviction. That is, as a means of monitoring a convicted person.

Outside of patrol management, high-speed pursuits and vehicle recovery, GPS tracking has also been used in a number of different applications. They are also used to track suspects or perpetrators, such as sex offenders or people convicted of severe domestic violence. GPS tracking devices are useful tools to help enforce restraining orders and warn victims if a perpetrator is nearby. While the legalities of GPS tracking on people are still being debated, the general rule is that a warrant is required for law enforcement to track a suspect or perpetrator.

 

The most peculiar use of GPS tracking devices may be in decoy pill bottles to deter drug store theft and tackle the illicit sale and abuse of pharmaceuticals.

The GPS tracking device is an invaluable asset for law enforcement as it allows for more efficient patrol management and helps keep officers and their vehicles safe. From simple GPS trackers that plug into the car, to projectile launched trackers and tracking suspects, the GPS tracking device is vital to law enforcement operations.

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