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GPS Tracking For Police

The Complete Guide To Police GPS Tracking Systems

Are you exploring advanced surveillance methods for your police department? If so, the tool on the top of the list for your consideration should be GPS tracking. But why is it pivotal tool for modern law enforcement? First of all, GPS trackers will discreetly monitor suspect movements, aiding in evidence collection. In this guide, we will show you how to implement GPS tracking effectively, understand legal nuances, and learn from its successful deployment. Discover how this technology can elevate your operations, providing a strategic edge in investigations. Yes, we will go over everything you need to know about police GPS tracking. Now, let’s get started!

SpaceHawk GS Tracker GIF

United States v. Jones: A Legal Turning Point For Law Enforcement

As a member of law enforcement, you’ve seen GPS tracking evolve from an experimental tool to an indispensable asset. However, the rules and regulations regarding the use of GPS tracking for police were firmly established with United States v. Jones.

United States v. Jones - GPS Tracking

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The landmark Supreme Court case, United States v. Jones, significantly influenced how you use GPS trackers today. In 2012, the Court ruled that attaching a GPS device to a vehicle without a warrant constitutes an illegal search under the Fourth Amendment. This case stemmed from a 28-day period in which police tracked a suspect’s car with a GPS device installed without proper judicial approval, leading to his arrest for drug possession​​​​​​.

Why was this ruling so important? This ruling necessitated a shift in protocol as it relates to law enforcement using GPS devices. Since United States v. Jones, police must acquire a warrant before deploying a GPS tracker. This ensures that surveillance operations are conducted within the bounds of the law, protecting both the integrity of investigations and individual privacy rights.

Today, police regularly use GPS to conduct surveillance on suspect vehicles discreetly. Why? The technology enables you to monitor movements in real-time, providing invaluable data that informs strategic decisions and responses. Beyond surveillance, GPS technology can help you manage your fleet of police cruisers, optimizing routes and ensuring accountability in the field.

The Impact of GPS Tracking On Police Tactics – Case Studies

StarChase Law Enforcement GPS

One of the more interesting case studies with GPS tracking for police involved a product called StarChase. Published in July 2017 by the Department of Justice, this study dives into the real-world impact of GPS tracking tools on police vehicle pursuits. Let’s examine some of the findings more closely.

In the study, three distinct law enforcement agencies provided insights into their use of the StarChase system. Each agency’s application of the tool varied, from tagging vehicles pre-chase to employing the technology in unforeseen ways. This versatility underscores GPS tracking’s adaptability in field operations. Through these case studies, two main benefits emerged. First, StarChase proved effective, reducing the need for high-speed pursuits and thereby increasing safety. Secondly, it afforded officers valuable time to strategize responses to complex scenarios. However, challenges were also noted. Officers found the tool beneficial but not universally applicable, acknowledging its limitations across varying pursuit conditions.

These findings reveal a nuanced picture: GPS tracking tools like StarChase are reshaping pursuit strategies, enhancing officer safety, and altering the landscape of police work. Yet, as with any tool, they are part of a larger tactical arsenal, not a standalone solution.

Additional Learning: See What The StarChase Owner Said About His GPS Launcher On CBS Chicago

7 Key Features Of GPS Tracking For Police

GPS Tracker For Police Squad Cars

Are you aware of the advantages GPS tracking can offer your police department? If not, we will share 7 key features of GPS technology and how it can help your law enforcement team improve operations. Whether that is for managing your own police cruisers, or secretly tracking the vehicle of potential suspects.

  1. Swift Dispatch: GPS units provide real-time location data, ensuring quick dispatch and timely responses to emergencies.
  2. Optimized Routing: Traffic updates and GPS mapping guide you to emergencies via the fastest routes, saving critical minutes.
  3. Zone Oversight: Real-time mapping platforms help maintain zone integrity, keeping officers within their assigned areas.
  4. Crime Scene Response: Identify and dispatch the nearest units to a crime scene, reducing response times.
  5. Surveillance: Covert vehicle tracking with GPS tags allows for discreet surveillance, minimizing detection risk.
  6. Fleet Management: GPS vehicle systems manage your fleet, ensuring efficient use of police cars.
  7. Pursuit Safety: Handheld GPS launchers like StarChase reduce the need for high-speed pursuits, enhancing officer and public safety.

Financial Considerations For GPS Tracking In Police Departments

Police Chase

When contemplating the integration of GPS tracking systems in police work, the cost is a crucial factor. Here’s a breakdown of what your department might expect financially:

Hardware Costs:

  • GPS vehicle tracking devices range from about $29 to $299, with additional subscription fees for data.

Installation and Operational Costs:

  • GPS trackers for squad cars may require professional installation, which adds to the upfront costs.
  • Subscription fees for tracking platforms can range widely, from a few dollars to several hundred dollars annually.
  • Maintenance costs for hardware and periodic software updates can further contribute to the total cost​​.

Funding and Grants:

  • Federal grants are available annually to law enforcement agencies for various policing activities, including technology upgrades like GPS systems​​.
  • Departments can seek funding from federal sources such as the Justice Department, Department of Homeland Security, and Department of Transportation​​.
  • Specifically, the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant (JAG) Program is a primary federal funding source that local jurisdictions can tap into for law enforcement technology​​.

While the initial investment for GPS tracking systems can be significant, the long-term benefits often justify the cost. Enhanced efficiency, improved officer safety, and better resource management are just a few of the returns on this investment. Therefore, it’s crucial to weigh these potential benefits against the initial and ongoing costs to make a well-informed decision for your department.

Frequently Asked Questions

The most common GPS car tracker used by police agencies is wireless, waterproof, portable, and built with a powerful magnet mount. Why? So the tracking device can easily be attached to a suspect's vehicle without them knowing. Below, is an example of what a police GPS tracking device looks like:

Hidden GPS Tracker For Car

No, police need a warrant to track your phone without your knowledge. This is to ensure your privacy rights are not violated. However, exceptions exist in emergency situations where obtaining a warrant is not feasible, and immediate action is necessary to prevent harm or serious crime.

Yes, privacy concerns arise with the use of GPS tracking by police. The balance between effective law enforcement and individual privacy rights is delicate. Police must adhere to legal requirements, such as obtaining warrants, to mitigate privacy infringement.

GPS Tracker

According to security experts at GPS Tracking Review, SpaceHawk is the best law enforcement GPS. The reasons include the product coming with free technical support for training and implementation, which can be helpful getting officers set up using the system, However, the features are really what make the vehicle tracking system stand out. These include a wireless design, real time location update every 3 seconds, and a powerful magnet mount for outside placement on a car.

GPS Under Car

Learn more about SpaceHawk on YouTube.

No, police cannot attach a GPS tracker to your car without a warrant, as it's considered an invasion of your privacy. The Supreme Court's decision in United States v. Jones requires law enforcement to obtain a warrant before placing a GPS device on a vehicle. This protects your Fourth Amendment rights against unreasonable searches and seizures.

Disclaimer: Some Photos In This Article, “GPS Tracking For Police” Were Generated Using AI

Matthew Henson
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