Vehicles’ GPS Help Police Track Missing Persons

3 years 4 months 2 weeks ago Tuesday, May 09 2017 May 9, 2017 May 09, 2017 5:01 PM May 09, 2017 in News

WESLACO – Some local police departments said tracking systems inside vehicles can be essential in finding a missing person.

Weslaco Police Department Lt. Jose Cano said locating a missing person can be made easier if their car, or the car they are believed to be in, can be traced.

“When somebody does go missing or they take the car, you know, or they’re in a vehicle, we definitely, we notify the person who’s actually contacting us or whoever we’re talking to. The first thing we ask is does the vehicle have a GPS tracking system on it,” he said.

David Rios is familiar with car tracking applications and the specifics they offer when determining someone’s location.

He explained how an application on a phone could help track someone.

“On the icon that says parked location, it opens up, a GPS map appears. You press locate vehicle, and then the satellite takes over from that point. It literally locates the vehicle, produces a blue dot as to where it’s at and then above your telephone, up above the same GPS screen, a physical address appears,” Rios said.

Cano said alternatives do exist. People can use them if they don’t have access to family member’s application tracking system.

“Normally what they do is, we provide them a case number. ‘Look we’re going to file a report.’ OnStar is going to require that case number. ‘I need a case number for your police report. Is the officer there present? Yes he is.’ Okay, that’s when they pass the phone over to us,” he said.

Once police get involved, the car tracking system company cooperates to help in the emergency situation.

Cano said he’s solved a missing person case before in a matter of hours thanks to the tracking devices.

“She gave her information. We gave her a case number, because they required it. And then she gave the phone to us, so we were able to track minute by minute where the vehicle was and we tracked him back to Harlingen,” he explained.

Each man said GPS data takes the guess work out of locating a loved one.

Cano said people need to keep in mind these tracking devices are to only be used among family. He said tracking a person without their consent can result in a Class A misdemeanor.

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