The White Settlement Police Department recognizes the level of community interest on certain topics that involve law enforcement. Whether that relates to how force is used, how the department investigates complaints, or how we manage car chases, the department is committed to discussing these topics and providing information that regulate officer actions and conduct.
Police pursuits are one of the most dangerous actions a law enforcement can undertake. While the goal is to achieve compliance when an officer exercises lawful authority to signal a driver to pull over for a traffic stop, there are times that drivers disregard police authority and may engage in unsafe driving behaviors while evading from police.
As an accredited agency by the Texas Police Chiefs Association, the department follows protocols established by the accreditation program including, but not limited to:
- Maintaining a written directive that requires a pursuit report to be completed after each pursuit.
- Conducting a chain of command review of each pursuit to ensure policy compliance, assessment of tactics used, and to remedy deficiencies or reaffirm best practices as they are determined during the review.
- Training on the policy and topic, at least annually.
- Ensure the pursuit report documents the reason(s) for the pursuit, personnel involved, result of pursuit, any injury or damage, and any other significant events that occurred (Accreditation Standard 7.14).
In addition, the department produces an annual report of agency pursuits that is forwarded to the Agency Director (Chief of Police).
Police Pursuit Policy
As a matter of transparency, the department's pursuit policy is available for review.
Pursuit Annual Reports
StarChase Pursuit Smart Technology Intervention Tool
In January 2024, the department began evaluating a new smart technology intervention tool to lessen organizational risk and potentially reduce egregious driving behavior by fleeing suspects during certain types of car chases. While StarChase is not intended to eliminate pursuits, it does provide an additional tool for officers and supervisors to consider depending on the type of vehicle pursuit. The system operates in the following parameters:
- Patrol vehicles are equipped with a vehicle mounted GPS launcher.
- Officers evaluate each vehicle pursuit and can make a decision to activate the StarChase system which arms a GPS tag mounted in the launcher. There are two tags in each launcher per vehicle. A green laser light is emitted on the fleeing vehicle assisting the officer with accurate placement of the GPS tag when deployed.
- Officers can tag a suspect vehicle remotely with the touch of a button inside the patrol vehicle or by using the supplied key fob.
- The tag uses magnetic and adhesive technology to stick to the fleeing vehicle.
- Once a successful deployment occurs, the StarChase monitoring system activates a GPS cellular signal which activates a mapping feature in the Dispatch Center.
- The pursuing officer can then decide on whether to continue or disengage emergency pursuit driving and back off from the fleeing vehicle, thereby reducing risks to the community and officer. Each situation will vary depending on the suspect’s actions, driving behaviors by the suspect, and the offense the suspect is fleeing from.
- The GPS tag can track and locate the fleeing vehicle in real-time, without compromising officer and community safety.
- As the WEST COMM Dispatch Center continues to receive real-time updates on speed, direction of travel, and GPS coordinates, officers can be sent to the area without the suspect’s knowledge or awareness. The mapping feature can also manage situations where a suspect discards contraband or a firearm during a police chase, allowing officers to secure this contraband or firearm later.
- Dispatchers, police officers, and supervisors can continue to monitor the fleeing vehicle until it comes to a stop. When the vehicle stops, responding officers can move into the location and continue the ongoing investigation of locating and apprehending the driver and occupants, while also recovering the fleeing vehicle.
- Studies have shown that when offenders are not being actively pursued by emergency police vehicles, they return to normal and prudent speeds within 60 seconds, thereby enhancing safety for the motoring public.
- StarChase reports an 85% apprehension rate after reviewing 10 years of data.
- The department will utilize this technology as another tool for officers and supervisors to consider during certain types of pursuits.
To learn more about the StarChase technology, check out this training video that was produced during the initial rollout.