The Aircraft Division of the Missouri State Highway Patrol has new technology making pursuits less dangerous for officers and the motoring public alike.
In July of 2016, they began using an infrared camera coupled with a map overlay system on a Bell 407 helicopter.
The main purpose was to perform search and rescue missions for lost or wanted subjects, but has also proven useful in assisting law enforcement agencies across the state in capturing fleeing subjects.
Tracking by air allows ground units to slow down and back off from the pursuit which usually results in the suspect slowing down as well.
The street map overlay gives the flight crew street names, points of interest, and addresses which is then relayed to units on the ground.
Since July of 2016, the Aircraft Division has assisted with 114 pursuits and has tracked 103 of them successfully, a 90.36% success rate.
In 2019, the technology was used to find a suicidal subject in a wooded area, a man armed with a knife wanted for a domestic dispute, and in 2018 a subject armed with a rifle who had fled into woods near a school.