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7 Best Law Enforcement GPS Trackers

GPS Technology

Publish Date: August 25, 2019

Last Update: March 20, 2024

Police GPS Tracking Devices – Law Enforcement Top Picks For 2024

When people think of GPS car trackers, one of the most common thoughts is their use in law enforcement applications. But what are the best police GPS tracker options? In this article, we will discuss the 7 best law enforcement GPS trackers, and answer some FAQs people have about police use of GPS devices. Let’s dive in! 

Everlas Nano: Best Overall Hidden GPS Tracker For Police

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7 Best GPS Trackers For Police Officers – According To Law Enforcement

SpaceHawk: The Top-Rated Police GPS Tracker

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In your search for the ideal police GPS tracker, the SpaceHawk emerges as a top pick. With 4G LTE tracking in a waterproof casing, this device is small yet mighty. Imagine a roll of scotch tape – that’s roughly the size of SpaceHawk. Its strong internal magnet lets you attach it effortlessly to a suspect’s vehicle. The rechargeable lithium battery powers your tracking for up to a week. The device provides frequent updates, from every 3 seconds to once per minute, and it’s small enough to be hidden easily, say, in a backpack.

Flashback GPS Tracker: A Superb Passive Tracking Solution

Flashback 2, made by LandAirSea, is another excellent choice. This compact device, equipped with a potent magnet, offers up to 50 hours of data on one charge. Need to recover the data? Just plug the device into your computer with a USB cable. The Flashback 2 is also waterproof, which means you can hide it either inside or outside a vehicle.

Garmin Nuvi 260W: The Go-To GPS for Police Vehicles

While not a tracker, the Garmin Nuvi 260W is highly recommended by police officers for use in their vehicles. For efficient navigation and recognizing cross streets (especially vital during a chase), you’ll find no better option.

Lightning GPS: Long-Term Surveillance Solution

Consider the All-In-One GPS Tracker from Lightning GPS if you’re looking for long-term surveillance. With a 140-day battery life and a sturdy magnetic case, this tracker leverages 4G networks to provide real-time updates. It’s one of the best choices for prolonged surveillance missions.

Spytec GL300: Versatile Personal and Vehicle GPS Tracker

Spytec’s GL300 sets itself apart with a unique split design. Weighing only 2 ounces, you can use it to track a vehicle or a person. While it’s not naturally waterproof, you can pair it with a waterproof case, and a strong magnetic case can be added for better placement.

Tacti Track GPS: Designed Specifically for Law Enforcement

Tacti Track offers devices made exclusively for law enforcement. To protect their police partners, all their GPS tracker options are guarded by a password-protected wall. This ensures your suspect won’t know what you’re using. They also offer custom devices and various tracking options including informant, package, and K9.

StarChase: Specializing in GPS Tracker Launcher

StarChase offers unique options like a GPS tracker launcher. This can enhance officer safety during high-speed pursuits. They also offer trackers designed to aid in vehicle recovery in case of theft. Like Tacti Track, StarChase focuses on products tailored specifically for law enforcement, which shows in their high-quality offerings.

How Law EnforcementUsese GPS Tracking Systems 

When it comes to using a law enforcement GPS tracker, the most immediate use is probably the idea of tracking a suspect’s movements (typically using areal-timee GPS tracker), but that isn’t the only way in which police and other law enforcement officers use GPS.Checkk out the ways 5 law enforcement agencies that use GPS tracking use surveillance devices:

  1. FBI: The Federal Bureau of Investigation regularly has GPS tracking on suspects’ vehicles, with as many as 3,000 individual vehicles being tracked at any point back in 2012. In fact, most security experts believe the number of vehicles tracked by the FBI has only gotten higher since then.
  2. DFW: Both state and federal Fish and Wildlife departments have been known to use GPS tracking to monitor suspected cannabis cultivators on public lands.
  3. BLM: The Bureau of Land Management has similarly used GPS tracking to monitor suspected cannabis cultivators and ranchers or sheepherders it suspects may have run afoul of the land-use arrangements to which they have previously agreed.
  4. DMV: Some states, such as California, are proposing use taxes for vehicles. These pilot programs work by attaching a tracking device to the license plate; drivers would then be taxed based on the mileage driven, as reported to the Department of Motor Vehicles by their GPS tracking devices.
  5. DOT: A similar pilot program in Oregon would allow drivers to decide for themselves which third-party GPS tracking contractor they would prefer to use, but the data would still be used by the Department of Transportation to determine tax rates.

Police GPS Case Study 1: People v. Weaver

In New York in 2009, a case involving Scott Weaver, a suspected burglar, highlighted GPS tracking for law enforcement. Using a GPS unit on Weaver’s car, police tracked his movements for several weeks. The GPS data linked him to a series of burglaries. Weaver was convicted, but the case (People v. Weaver) went to the New York Court of Appeals. The court ruled that tracking someone for an extended period without a warrant violated the New York Constitution.

Police GPS Case Study 2: Commonwealth v. Connolly

In Massachusetts, the police used GPS tracking to solve a series of arson attacks in 2004. A GPS device was covertly placed on suspect Mark Connolly’s vehicle. The GPS data linked Connolly to the arson locations, leading to his arrest and conviction. However, the case (Commonwealth v. Connolly) reached the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court in 2010, where it was determined that warrantless GPS tracking in this situation was permissible, highlighting the varying state laws regarding GPS tracking.

Police Case Study 3: State v. Zahn

In South Dakota, law enforcement used areal-timee GPS tracker in 2012 to crack a poaching case. Joshua Zahn, a suspected illegal hunter, was tracked using a GPS device on his vehicle. The GPS data linked Zahn to several illegal hunting sites. Zahn was convicted, but the case (State v. Zahn) went to the South Dakota Supreme Court, where the court upheld the use of warrantless GPS tracking data in this context. This case underscores the ongoing legal discussion on GPS tracking’s role in law enforcement.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Do Police Put GPS Trackers Cars?

The simple answer is yes. The more complicated answer is that legally, police are required to get a warrant before using a law enforcement GPS tracker on a suspect’s vehicle. Whether or not that warrant is always obtained before the police GPS tracker is applied to the vehicle…well, that probably depends on the cop and the case.

In a 2011 case decided in 2012, though, a Supreme Court case ruled that for the GPS evidence to be admissible in court, the warrant needed to be obtained before tracker placement. Similarly, in 2014 the Supreme Court ruled that for data from a cellphone to be obtained legally, cops must get a search warrant for that cellphone. As a result, it’s easy for cops to run afoul of the law when using a police GPS tracker if they don’t get a search warrant first.

Can GPS Technology Be Used In Police Vehicles?

Yes, indeed. GPS technology is commonly installed in patrol cars and other police vehicles. A GPS vehicle tracking system provides real-time updates on the vehicles’ locations, speeds, and routes. This is vital during high-speed pursuits, ensuring driver safety while improving operational efficiency. Companies like Starchase LLC offer specialized GPS units for law enforcement applications.

Are There GPS Tracking Solutions Suitable For Covert Operations And Private Investigators?

Definitely! There are GPS devices specifically designed for covert tracking. These devices are small and discreet, and some even come with a handheld GPS launcher for easy deployment. Pretty crazy right?! They provide real-time mapping on a secure platform, making them ideal for private investigators and law enforcement agencies conducting undercover operations.

Can GPS Tracking Systems Help Manage A Fleet Of Police Cars Or Other Law Enforcement Vehicles?

Yes, GPS fleet tracking is designed for this very purpose. A fleet manager can use the GPS tracking systems to monitor the status of all patrol cars, reducing risk, and enhancing efficiency. This asset-tracking technology can also help reduce fuel costs and improve driver safety, offering a positive ROI according to many online ROI calculators and buying guides.

Where Do Police Tend To Hide Tracking Devices On Cars?

Typically, police hide tracking devices in inconspicuous locations on a vehicle’s exterior. Common spots include under the rear bumper, inside the wheel well, or behind the license plate. The goal is to keep the GPS device covert and secure, ensuring it remains undetected while providing accurate location data for law enforcement agencies during surveillance operations.

Resources:
  • https://www.npr.org/2011/11/08/142032419/do-police-need-warrants-for-gps-tracking-devices
  • https://www.npr.org/2017/11/28/564713772/can-police-track-you-through-your-cellphone-without-a-warrant
  • https://www.trackingsystemdirect.com/can-police-put-a-gps-on-my-car/
  • https://www.actsoft.com/2013/02/15/gps-tracking-for-law-enforcement/
  • https://nij.ojp.gov/topics/articles/case-study-gps-tracking-tool-designed-aid-police-vehicle-pursuits
  • https://www.ncjrs.gov/pdffiles1/nij/grants/249156.pdf#page=18
  • https://www.masscops.com/threads/best-gps-for-law-enforcement.97460/
  • https://www.calguns.net/calgunforum/showthread.php?t=395995
  • http://forums.gpsreview.net/discussion/13484/gps-for-police-car
  • https://starchase.com/
  • https://www.policeone.com/police-products/Pursuit-Management-Technology/articles/483282006-How-agencies-are-increasing-vehicle-recovery-suspect-apprehensions-and-officer-safety/
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