Tustin PD First in SoCal to Deploy GPS Technology to Track Fleeing Suspect Vehicles

On a closed street near the blimp hangars in Tustin, a TPD patrol car speeds up in pursuit of a white Dodge Caravan.

30 mph. 40 mph. 50 mph.

The patrol car stays within manageable sight of the van when suddenly, the occupants in the fleeing vehicle hear a distinct sound.


To the occupants in the suspect vehicle it sounds like a tennis ball hitting the back of the van.

Once the device has been successfully deployed, the police vehicle drops back from the pursuit.

Training run successful.

Tustin PD officers undergo training for the new StarChase vehicle tagging system. Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge OC

In a first for a law enforcement agency in Southern California, the Tustin PD is in the process of training its officers to use a pursuit-mitigation device called StarChase, in which an officer fires a GPS tag from a launcher mounted on the grill of the patrol car to track a fleeing suspect, avoiding the need to pursue the vehicle.

The point is to reduce the risks involved in pursuits and improve safety for officers, suspects and the general public.

The TPD recently showed several field training officers (FTOs) how to use StarChase (starchase.com). They practiced deploying the GPS tags by pushing a button on their dashboard consoles while in pursuit of the suspect’s vehicle. The training also included classroom instruction.

Over the next month, the TPD will be training all its officers on the technology. TPD patrol vehicles will be equipped with StarChase.

Lt. Brian Greene has overseen this project from its inception. “This gives us another tool to manage dangerous situations,” Greene said.

Police agencies in the Northern California and Northern Washington already use StarChase, said Dave Respess, director of field operations and training at StarChase LLC.

The Tustin PD started looking into the technology about a year ago. There are fewer than 100 law enforcement agencies nationwide using StarChase, Respess said.

“Chief (Charlie) Celano is very big on technology and in using technology to make our agency operate more efficiently and effectively,” Greene said.

Here’s how StarChase works:

A launcher mounted on the front of a patrol car uses a laser to target a fleeing car. The launcher uses compressed air to deploy a cylinder whose end is covered in an adhesive containing a GPS locator and a transmitter.

Once the GPS cylinder is attached to a fleeing car, dispatchers and fellow TPD patrol officers can track the location and movement of the fleeing car on a secure web-based mapping portal.

This means officers can rely on additional tactical strategies other than chasing a suspect, often at dangerously high speeds, to apprehend the suspect.

The adhesive doesn’t cause permanent damage to car paint, Respess noted.

“I love it,” TPD Sgt. Andy Birozy said of StarChase. He and Sgt. Mike Van Cleve, under the supervision of Greene, are overseeing the rollout of StarChase at the TPD. “I think it’s a great idea,” Birozy added. “I think it could save officers’ lives and the lives of the general public.”

The TPD engages in an average of about 10 vehicle pursuits a year, Birozy said.

Every police vehicle pursuit does have an element of danger and the Tustin PD has existing policies and procedures in place for the officers regarding involvement in pursuits. Those policies and procedures are designed to help mitigate risks involving pursuits, and now StarChase will be one of those available options.

During the recent TPD training session, Greene noticed the excitement on the faces of the officers who participated.

“To see the smiles on their faces,” Greene said, “to give them the tools they need to do their jobs safer, that’s what it’s all about.”

Source: Behindthebadgeoc.com


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IndyCar Drivers Put Their Skills to Test at LAPD Training Facility


Verizon IndyCar Series drivers are used to sharing race feedback with their team engineers, but Wednesday they worked together with the Los Angeles Police Department to discuss police pursuits and driving techniques.

Indianapolis 500 winner Ryan Hunter-Reay and four-time Verizon IndyCar Series race winner James Hinchcliffe visited the LAPD’s Davis Training Facility, where officers and recruits receive instruction that prepares them for careers in the field. The drivers were in town for this weekend’s Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach, which takes place Friday through Sunday.

The 44-acre facility completed in 1999 trains police officers for the difficult task of conducting pursuits and responding to calls in a safe and timely manner. It consists of a road course that includes a light controlled intersection, two skid courses, an area for high-speed reverse driving, a collision avoidance simulator and law enforcement driving simulators.    


“It was a unique and very worthwhile experience to have such talented drivers here at our facility to share their knowledge and experience,” said Officer Alex Penrith, who gave the driving instruction. “Once they understood our mission, they were able to share ideas on staying focused behind the wheel, controlling stress and not overdriving.”

Hinchcliffe and Hunter-Reay received basic instruction on the intricacies of police driver training. Though the drivers hold a combined 20 Verizon IndyCar Series race wins, preparing for a police pursuit was not their typical day at the track.

“Their experience and maturity was very obvious from the first turn,” Penrith continued. “They were very quickly able to adapt to our police vehicles and safely operate them at speed. A pursuit is complicated and takes a great deal of training to get right.  If the racing thing doesn’t work out, we would gladly accept their applications.” 

Through the hands-on experience, Hinchcliffe and Hunter-Reay received a close-up perspective of the challenges officers face in their line of work. Law enforcement officials often find themselves in situations where they have to make smart decisions quickly, just as Verizon IndyCar Series drivers do on the racetrack. 

“There’s a lot of similarities here,” said Hunter-Reay, the 2012 series champion and 2014 Indy 500 winner. “With the high-stakes environment in the Verizon IndyCar Series, the consequences that go with driving on the edge – the police officers here at the LAPD, the split-second decisions that they have to make are life and death — it’s similar to ours in that way, but they have so many more variables. They have traffic, they have pedestrians and keeping your cool and not getting the red mist, or low eyes as we call it, is key for them.”


Hinchcliffe, who lived in Los Angeles for several months last year while competing and finishing runner-up on Season 23 of “Dancing with the Stars,” gained an even deeper respect for the officers through the experience.

“We got a huge insight into what actually goes into their training and what goes into the job of being in pursuit of a suspect,” Hinchcliffe said. “It’s not just flat out on the gas and chasing a guy, there’s a lot of things they have to go through in the heat of the moment.”

The drivers also tested out shooting and driving simulators, which the officers use to simulate real-life situations that also teach quick, smart decision-making.

At the end of the event, Hunter-Reay and Hinchcliffe presented the officers with a commemorative milk bottle signifying the lead-up to the 101st Running of the Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil next month, where the race winner celebrates by drinking a bottle of milk in Victory Circle.

Source: IndyCar.com


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Marines to Get Smart Phones to Call In Fire Support

This fiscal year Marines will receive smart phones that make calling for fire support easier, quicker and more accurate. The Target Handoff System Version 2, or THS V.2, is a portable system designed for use by dismounted Marines to locate targets, pinpoint global positioning coordinates and call for close air, artillery and naval fire support using secure digital communications. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Staff Sgt. Joe Laws/Released)

(U.S. Air Force Photo by Staff Sgt. Joe Laws/Released)

This fiscal year Marines will receive smart phones that make calling for fire support easier, quicker and more accurate.  

The Target Handoff System Version 2 is a portable system designed for use by dismounted Marines to locate targets, pinpoint global positioning coordinates and call for close air, artillery and naval fire support using secure digital communications. The system is an upgrade to the Corps’ current Target Handoff System and is made up of a laser range finder, video down link receiver and a combat net radio.

“Our current THS, though capable, needed to be smaller and lighter to better support dismounted operations,” said Capt. Jesse Hume, THS V.2 project officer for Marine Corps Systems Command. “With the new version, Marines will obtain a lightweight device equipped to provide immediate situational awareness on where friendly and enemy locations are, and the ability to hand off target data to fire support to get quick effects on the battlefield.” 

THS V.2 also allows Marines to coordinate fire support missions more precisely, minimizing collateral damage, Hume said.   

THS V.2 uses commercial off-the-shelf smartphones that reduce the system’s total weight from roughly 20 to 10 pounds, making it easier to transport. It also features new, more intuitive software. Information is transmitted via an encrypted combat net radio, ensuring mission security. 

Matthew Bolen, assistant engineer for THS, said the use of COTS products eliminates the cost of investing in proprietary hardware and decreases the time it takes to equip the Corps with new technology. 

“With the new commercial products, THS V.2 will be half the price of the previous system, while incorporating the speed of current advancements in handheld technology and encryption,” he said. 

Designed for use by forward observers, air controllers and joint terminal attack controllers, THS V.2 allows users to quickly and accurately determine a target’s location and digitally transmit (hand-off) the data to supporting arms elements. The system automatically generates coordinates for targets identified by a Marine and digitizes the information into a map application pre-installed on the smartphone, eliminating the need for manual input. Once digitized, the information is transmitted to the Fire Support Coordination Center, where the proper approach of attack is determined. The FSCC then coordinates air, artillery or naval fire support to extinguish the threat.  

“THS V.2 provides embedded, real-time tactical information with ground combat element units down to the squad or platoon level,” said Gunnery Sgt. Nicholas Tock, THS operations chief. “If we are on patrol and we take contact from machine guns in a tree line, a satellite that passes over once every few hours is not going to help an infantry unit kill that target. THS V.2 is for that close combat.”  

The system’s upgraded software includes a new, easy-to-understand interface similar to operating systems used by everyday mobile users. THS V.2 will also come with a pre-installed “Start Guide” help app with step-by-step tutorials ranging from configuration to trouble shooting operations.

“Start Guide is an intuitive app that goes through setup procedures, troubleshooting procedures and many other quick-reference materials,” said Chuck Schuster, MCSC’s liaison to the Aviation and Missile Research Development and Engineering Center. “This is the first time to our knowledge that a feature like this has been pre-installed on a system for Marines.”

THS V.2 is part of the MCSC’s joint fires and combined arms arsenal. Joint fires describe the use of weapon systems in a joint environment involving forces from two or more components in coordinated action in support of a common objective.

Source: http://www.marines.mil/News/News-Display/Article/1033226/marines-to-get-smart-phones-to-call-in-fire-support/#.WFqmN02P0uU.twitter

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Flight Controller Accidentally Sends Jet On Course Toward Mt. Wilson After LAX Takeoff

The Federal Aviation Administration is investigating an incident in which a passenger aircraft was given wrong directions by traffic controllers and guided toward the San Gabriel Mountains, where it flew just hundreds of feet higher than the peak of Mt. Wilson before turning around, according to publicly available flight data.

Bound for Taiwan, the EVA Air Boeing 777 took off to the east early Friday from Los Angeles International Airport’s south runway complex, according to FAA spokesman Ian Gregor. After takeoff, the air crew switched from the LAX control tower to the approach control operations in San Diego, which Gregor said was common practice.

“The air traffic controller at the approach control who was handling EVA instructed the pilot to make a left turn to a 180-degree heading,” he said. “She meant to tell the pilot to make a right turn to a 180-degree heading.”

Following the controller’s instructions, the pilot turned left.

The move sent the plane in the wrong direction, Gregor said.

Instead of flying south, the aircraft flew north toward the San Gabriel Mountains and an Air Canada jet that had departed from the north runway complex at LAX.


When the controller realized the mistake, she “took immediate action to keep EVA safely separated” from the second aircraft as well as ground terrain, Gregor said. She issued the EVA pilot a series of instructions to help him turn south.

“The controller wanted to make sure the EVA aircraft was safely above or away from nearby terrain,” he said.

The conversation between the pilot of EVA 015 and the controller was posted by VASAviation on Youtube. At one point during the flight, the controller asks the pilot, “What are you doing? Turn southbound now.” 

A graphic depiction of the aircraft’s flight path, altitude and speed on the website Flightradar24.com shows the plane turning north and flying over Pasadena toward the San Gabriel Mountains. Just five minutes after takeoff, the plane is hovering 5,000 feet over Eaton Canyon when it begins turning away from the mountain range and heading south.  

As the aircraft banks directly to the south of Mt. Wilson, it continues to gain altitude and appears to fly between 500 and 800 feet higher than the Mt. Wilson Observatory, which stands roughly 5,710 feet high, according to the website data. The aircraft’s lateral distance from the mountain peak appears to be between 500 and 600 meters. 

In a statement issued Tuesday, EVA Air said, “our flight was never too close to other aircraft or to the mountains.”

The pilot of the aircraft was directed to take off from Runway 7 and complied with the air traffic controller’s direction and speed instructions.

“EVA is working in full cooperation with the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration and related authorities in the investigation of this situation,” the statement said.

FAA regulations require that airliners be separated by at least 3 miles laterally, or 1,000 feet vertically. The regulations also require airliners to be at least 3 miles away laterally or 2,000 feet vertically above obstacles such as mountains.

Asked whether the aircraft had violated those restrictions, Gregor said the FAA was looking into how high the aircraft was flying above the ground northeast of the airport.

At least one Altadena resident reported hearing the low-flying plane, KABC-TV reported.

“The question is how close did they come to the terrain,” said Jon Russell, an air transport pilot and the Western-Pacific regional safety coordinator for the Air Line Pilots Assn. “Did a terrain warning sound in the cockpit?”

FAA officials said they did not know Tuesday afternoon whether such a warning occurred.

The flight had 353 people on board, including five infants,  an airline spokeswoman said.





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Why You Should Not Park Next to a Fire Hydrant

Firefighters were forced to smash the windows of a car illegally parked next to a fire hydrant in Nebraska. Chuck Henry reports for the NBC4 News at 5 on Monday, Dec. 19, 2016.

Source: http://www.nbclosangeles.com/news/local/Firefighters-Smash-Car-Windows-Pull-Hose-Through-Illegally-Parked-Car_Los-Angeles-407537666.html?_osource=SocialFlowTwt_LABrand


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DMR and ProVoice Added to BCD996P2 and BCD325P2 Scanners

bcd996p2-front_2Uniden is pleased to announce the addition of support for Digital Mobile Radio (DMR) and EDACS ProVoice decoding for two additional more models, further cementing Unidens position as the leading scanner manufacturer worldwide.

Digital Mobile Radio is used on thousands of systems worldwide. This $60 paid upgrade allows existing and future owners of the BCD996P2 and BCD325P2 scanners to easily add support for monitoring DMR, MotoTRBO Connect Plus, MotoTRBO Capacity Plus, and DMR Tier 3 systems.

ProVoice systems are used by several major agencies in the United States. This $50 paid upgrade allows people who live in one of these areas to easily add support for monitoring all unencrypted comms on these systems.

Uniden has led the way by adding the ability to use new digital modes in our scanners, without forcing all customers to incur the cost of support for systems that they have no need for. Our “a la carte” business model lets you pay for what you use and allows us to fairly compensate our technology licensors when one of our customers decides to use their technology. Using the Uniden BCDxxxP2 radios, upgraded with the DMR and ProVoice upgrades, you can now seamlessly monitor unencrypted channels on the following system types:

  • Conventional Analog channels
  • Conventional P25 Digital channels
  • Motorola Type I and Type II Trunked Radio systems with Analog and Digital (P25) Voice
  • EDACS Analog trunked radio systems
  • LTR Analog trunked radio systems
  • APCO Project 25 Phase I and Phase II Digital Trunked Radio systems
  • EDACS trunked radio systems with ProVoice channels (paid ProVoice upgrade required)
  • Conventional Digital Mobile Radio (DMR) channels (paid DMR upgrade required)
  • MotoTRBO Capacity Plus Trunked Radio Systems (paid DMR upgrade required)
  • MotoTRBO Connect Plus Trunked Radio Systems (paid DMR upgrade required)
  • MotoTRBO Linked Capacity Plus Systems (paid DMR upgrade required)
  • DMR Tier III Trunking (paid DMR upgrade required)

Source and more info at:


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NFL Investigating Giants for Using Two-Way Radio During Game Against Cowboys

The NFL is investigating the Giants’ potentially rule-breaking use of a two-way radio during the team’s recent 10-7 win over the Dallas Cowboys.

The use of a two-way radio by a coach during a game is strictly against league rules, according to ESPN.

In the fourth quarter of the game, Giants head coach Ben McAdoo was spotted using a walkie-talkie to communicate play calls with Eli Manning after his headset malfunctioned.

The Cowboys issued a formal complaint to the league over the radio use, but the NFL’s investigation was already underway by the time Dallas contacted them.

The NFL has a rule against coaches using two-way handheld radios because the league cannot control when both parties are communicating.

A coach using a walkie-talkie makes it harder for the NFL to monitor a league rule that states communication from the sideline to the quarterback must end when 15 seconds are left on the play clock.

With headsets, the NFL has the power to shut off communication at will with a “cutoff switch operator,” ESPN reported.

The Giants had no comment when reached Thursday night.

McAdoo used the walkie talkie in question, however, for about four or five plays on the Giants’ fourth-quarter drive that ended in an Eli Manning interception on a pass intended for Victor Cruz.

McAdoo’s normal equipment malfunctioned and as the Giants worked to fix it, the coach was handed the walkie talkie temporarily because its signal was reaching Manning’s helmet.

As the Giants worked to correct McAdoo’s equipment, Odell Beckham Jr. could be seen running to the sideline to bring plays back to the huddle and Manning was heading over to the sideline, as well.

There is no evidence in reviewing the game film that demonstrates McAdoo was on the walkie talkie for longer than the allowed 15 seconds of communication with his quarterback.

There is also, of course, no evidence that the Giants gained any advantage even if he was. The drive ended in a turnover and the Giants’ offense stunk most of the night. 

Source: http://www.nydailynews.com/sports/football/giants/nfl-investigating-giants-two-way-radio-cowboys-article-1.2912399


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Firefighters Injured in Four Alarm Strip Mall Fire

– Two firefighters were injured while battling a four-alarm fire Thursday December 15 at a Monterey Park strip mall.

The large structure fire was reported around 1:30 a.m. in the 300 block of East Garvey Avenue, according to a Monterey Park Fire Department dispatcher.

During the firefighting effort, part of the mall’s roof collapsed. The flames were extinguished by about 4:45 a.m., the fire department reported.

The conditions of the injured firefighters were not immediately released officially, but news media outlets reported their injuries were minor.

About 40 people were evacuated from an apartment building just north of the fire scene, but they were allowed back into their residences around 4:45 a.m., police said.

The fire knocked out some electrical service in the area, including blacking out some traffic signals, but power was restored by about 7:30 a.m., police said. Also, Garvey Avenue was blocked between Alhambra and Russell avenues, but the roadway was reopened about 7:30 a.m., police said.

The cause of the fire was under investigation. A damage estimate was not immediately available.

Source: http://www.foxla.com/news/local-news/223852019-story


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LAPD Stuffs a Chopper with Toys for Christmas

The LAPD responds to a challenge by the New South Wales Police Department to stuff a chopper with toys for kids this Christmas. Watch Chief Charlie Beck challenge the LA County Sheriff Department to do the same.

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New Paint Scheme for El Segundo PD Cars


The El Segundo Police Department has begun phasing in a new design for their patrol cars and the implementation will continue throughout 2017.

Pictured here is the first vehicle with the new design. The current patrol cars have graphics that have been in place for almost 20 years.

Be on the lookout for newly designed patrol cars coming to a street near you!

Follow El Segundo PD on Twitter: #elsegundopd

el-segundo-patrol-car-2 el-segundo-patrol-car-3 el-segundo-patrol-car-4


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