Police chases in Mississippi’s capital city could soon pose less of a danger, Jackson Police Chief Joseph Wade and Deputy Chief Vincent Grizzell said on Oct. 20 as they unveiled 25 new handheld StarChase GPS-launching devices.
“We know that it’s been a huge issue with police chases within the City of Jackson from JPD officers and our neighboring law enforcement officers,” Wade said at the press conference.
StarChase devices are new GPS-launching devices that the Jackson Police Department introduced on Oct. 20, 2023, to help make police chases safer. Several police departments around the country have begun implementing the devices. Photo by Shaunicy Muhammad
Residents and local activists have criticized law enforcement in and around Hinds County for years over dangerous police chases, some of which have resulted in multi-vehicle accidents, the deaths of residents and hefty payouts to victims injured during pursuits. But many accidents in recent years have happened after officers from surrounding jurisdictions chased suspects into Jackson.
Grizzell acknowledged Jackson’s past troubles with “old-school” police chases. He said the new equipment will make police pursuits safer for the community.
“When an officer engages in a chase and somebody wants to run away from the police, they will be able to track that car throughout the city wherever they go so that we can safely apprehend those suspects,” Grizzell said. “Once it’s on, it’s going to be hard for them to stop and take it off. We’re going to be right there with them.”
Mississippi House Rep. Zakiya Summers, who represents House District 68 in Jackson, has long advocated for safer police chases in the capital city and surrounding areas.
In 2016, after a driver attempting to evade Clinton Police hit and killed Clinton resident Lonnie Blue Jr., Summers and other organizers with the Capitol Street Coalition held a press conference cautioning law enforcement from engaging in chases that may endanger the public.
“There are ways to catch criminals other than the loss of life,” Summers said at the press conference on Mar. 25, 2016. Then-Jackson Police Chief Lee Vance denied that his officers had any knowledge of
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