Just the Facts, Ma'am

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GM’s OnStar Remove Vehicle Feature Stops Carjacking

A while back, Hal Collier and Gerry Goldshine posted pieces on vehicle pursuits. This technology has been around for a while and there are questions about confidentiality but to avoid the hazards of vehicle pursuits–well, you decide if it’s something you want. Yes, it sounds like an ad for GM, but it also may be just what you need at a critical moment. Read on…                   –Thonie

GM OnStar button

GM OnStar button

From Smart Planet blog by Andrew Nusca

Oct 21, 2009

GM’s OnStar service, installed on many of the auto manufacturer’s vehicles, offers GPS navigation, handsfree calling and remote diagnostics. But this past Sunday, it stopped an armed carjacker in his tracks.

GM’s OnStar service, installed on many of the auto manufacturer’s vehicles, offers GPS navigation, handsfree calling and remote diagnostics. But this past Sunday, it stopped an armed carjacker in his tracks.

A shotgun-wielding criminal carjacked a 2009 Chevrolet Tahoe early Sunday morning from its owner in Visalia, California. Normally, the story ends there, but the owner flagged down a police officer to report the incident, noting that the Tahoe had the OnStar Stolen Vehicle Slowdown service.

That service allows OnStar advisers to locate the vehicle. Once law enforcement neared the vehicle, OnStar initiated the slowdown service, slowing the Tahoe down to a stop. Obviously, the suspect hopped out and ran, but officers apprehended him before he could get away.

The whole process took 16 minutes.

GM launched the slowdown service in Oct. 2008, and until now had only activated it 38 times, for reasons as varied as dealer theft, rental vehicles and stationary vehicles as a preventative measure. This is the first time that SVS has been activated to help a subscriber in a carjacking situation, GM said.

“It helped us not only safely recover a vehicle for a local citizen, but also prevented a dangerous high-speed chase and allowed us to quickly apprehend a suspect,” Visalia Police Department Sergeant Steven Phillips said in a statement. “It’s a win for everyone.”

Here’s how it works: Once OnStar sends a signal to the vehicle’s engine, it begins reducing engine power and gradually slows the vehicle to idle speed. All other vehicle systems, including power steering and brakes, remain fully operational.

The OnStar service is optional and costs a subscription, of course. But it’s an interesting real-world application of a technology that may play a big part in how we interact with our vehicles in the future.

Here’s the Tahoe’s owner, Jose Ruiz, explaining what happened:

GM’s OnStar Remote Vehicle Slow Down

Andrew Nusca, Editor Emeritus

Andrew Nusca is editor of SmartPlanet and an associate editor for ZDNet. Previously, he worked at Money, Men’s Vogue and Popular Mechanics magazines. He holds degrees from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism and New York University. He is based in New York but resides in Philadelphia. Follow him on Twitter.

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This entry was posted on January 29, 2014 by in Law Enforcement and tagged , , , .

Cop Talk

For all things about cop culture-the work, the family, the days off.

The purpose of this page is to educate writers of all genres to be accurate in their portrayal of law enforcement professionals. This includes meter maids (I was a "lovely Rita" many years ago), dispatcher, patrol officers, detectives, and administrators.

I have many resources in my 35 year career in California law enforcement. I index and explain common errors that found in all media. Guests will also post about police professionalism today and tomorrow as well as historical articles about the way things used to be, "back in the day".

Examples of police media myths: missing persons cannot be reported by anyone but the family; missing persons reports can't be taken until the subject has been missing 24 hours; all cops eat donuts.

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Just the Facts, Ma'am posts Sundays and Fridays. Sundays scheduled writers Hal Collier, Ed Meckle, Mikey, and John Schick take us through the days and nights of those who protect and serve.
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Extra postings will include California 'Officer Down' notices or something special. I will update progress of my current literary project as they develop.
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