Title:
Police vehicle chase dye drop
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
An automotive vehicle mounted device usable by pursuing law enforcement personnel to mark the location of evidence/contraband thrown or dropped from a fleeing vehicle through the actuation of a compressed gas cartridge to force a paintball cartridge out through a discharge barrel to the ground at the point of discard.



Inventors:
Maccarty, Ronald S. (Jackson, NJ, US)
Application Number:
11/371280
Publication Date:
09/13/2007
Filing Date:
03/09/2006
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
89/1.11
International Classes:
F41B11/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
KLEIN, GABRIEL J
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Charles I. Brodsky (Marlboro, NJ, US)
Claims:
I claim:

1. Apparatus mounted within an automotive vehicle comprising: a feeder holding a plurality of dye containing cartridges; a compressed gas cartridge coupled with said feeder; first means secured at a location accessible to an operator of said vehicle during vehicular movement; a discharge barrel coupled with said feeder; and second means coupled between said first means and said compressed gas cartridge for energizing said compressed gas cartridge to force individual ones of said dye containing cartridges out from said feeder through said discharge barrel to the ground upon actuation of said first means by the operator of said vehicle.

2. The apparatus of claim 1, also including third means coupled with said compressed gas cartridge for indicating a power operating level of said gas cartridge.

3. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein said compressed gas cartridge and said feeder holding said dye containing cartridges are mounted in a trunk of an automobile.

4. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein said compressed gas cartridge and said feeder holding said dye containing cartridges are mounted in a saddlebag of a motorcycle.

5. The apparatus of claim 3 wherein said first means includes a normally-open floor strike switch in a cab portion of said automobile.

6. The apparatus of claim 4 wherein said first means includes a normally-open hand trigger switch on a handlebar of said motorcycle.

7. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein said feeder holds a plurality of .68 caliber paintball cartridges.

8. The apparatus of claim 7 wherein said feeder holds at least six .68 caliber paintball cartridges.

9. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein said compressed gas cartridge comprises a 12-gram CO2 cartridge.

10. The apparatus of claim 2 wherein said third means comprises a tri-phase LED color indicator.

11. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein said discharge barrel is of a length at least 5 inches.

12. The apparatus of claim 2 wherein said feeder holds a plurality of .68 caliber paintball cartridges, wherein said compressed gas cartridge comprises a 12-gram CO2 cartridge, and wherein said third means comprises a tri-phase LED color indicator.

13. The apparatus of claim 12 wherein said compressed gas cartridge and said feeder holding said dye containing cartridges are mounted in a trunk of an automobile.

14. The apparatus of claim 12 wherein said compressed gas cartridge and said feeder holding said dye containing cartridges are mounted in a saddlebag of a motorcycle.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

NONE.

STATEMENT REGARDING FEDERALLY SPONSORED RESEARCH OR DEVELOPMENT

Research and development of this invention and Application have not been federally sponsored, and no rights are given under any Federal program.

REFERENCE TO A MICROFICHE APPENDIX

NOT APPLICABLE

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

This invention relates to the field of police law enforcement, in general, and to police vehicle chasing of fleeing suspects, in particular.

2. Description of the Related Art

As will be understood, police vehicle chases oftentimes end with the occupants of the fleeing vehicle being charged with weapons and/or drug possessions, or with the possession of stolen property. As will also be appreciated, the occupants of these fleeing vehicles frequently attempt to rid themselves of such items by throwing them out from the vehicle as the chase continues. The standard operating procedure in such instances is for the pursuing police officer to radio either an assisting officer or the police dispatcher describing the approximate location of the discard, usually by referencing the site to a visual marker.

As will be appreciated, however, where the chase is on a rural country road, there often does not exist any viable marker to use as a reference point to begin the locating search. On a city street, on the other hand, house numbers and retail store numbers may not be easily visible—or, for that matter, to be easily identifiable by the following police officer chasing at a high rate of vehicular speed. Shouting over the police radio that something was thrown from the fleeing vehicle alongside a big tree on the right side of a country road may just not be enough; or that something was thrown out near a brown house without a mailbox might not be enough, either.

And, as will be appreciated, the problem becomes even greater where the police vehicle chase is at night where appropriate markers are even less discernible.

OBJECTS OF THE INVENTION

It is an object of the present invention to provide a new and improved manner of identifying an area where the fleeing occupants discard whatever they throw from the fleeing vehicle in attempting to elude a chasing police officer.

It is an object of the present invention, also, to provide such a method which can be utilized in both daytime and nighttime chases.

It is another object of the invention to provide such a locating method which can be operated without any necessity for the following officer to take his/her hands from the steering wheel in conveying the marker location during the process of the pursuit.

It is a further object of the invention to provide such a method which allows for multiple markings as the occupant or occupants of the fleeing vehicle throw different items from the fleeing vehicle at successive intervals as the chase continues.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

As will become clear hereinafter, the present invention essentially comprises an automotive vehicle mounted device usable by pursuing law enforcement personnel to mark the location of evidence/contraband thrown or dropped from a fleeing vehicle through the actuation of a compressed gas cartridge to force a paintball cartridge out through a discharge barrel to the ground at the point of discard. In one embodiment, the device is mounted in the trunk of an automobile—with the actuation being accomplished through its operator actuating a normally-open floor strike switch in its cab. In a second embodiment, the device is mounted in a saddlebag of a motorcycle, with its operator actuating the compressed gas cartridge by way of a normally-open hand trigger switch on its handlebar(s).

With each embodiment, the device preferably includes a feeder holding a plurality of, for example, .68 caliber paintball cartridges and a discharge barrel of a length—for example, at least 5 inches—so that the paintball cartridge is able to clear the automotive vehicle to the ground. A 12-gram CO2 cartridge is employed to force the paintball cartridge out through the discharge barrel, and a tri-phase light-emitting-diode (LED) color indicator is included to convey the power operating level of the gas cartridge. Referred to as an “Interceptor Street Marker (ISM)”, the vehicle-mounted device and apparatus of the invention thus operates to fire a .68 caliber paintball into the ground as an indicator to mark the presumed location of the discarded evidence/contraband from a fleeing suspect.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

These and other features of the present invention will be more clearly understood from a consideration of the following description, taken in connection with the accompanying drawings, in which:

FIGS. 1-4 respectively illustrate side, front, back and top views of the automotive vehicle-mounted apparatus as it might be mounted within the trunk of an automobile or in the saddlebag of a motorcycle according to the invention; and

FIG. 5 is a block diagram helpful in an understanding of the operation of the invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

In FIGS. 1-4, a mounting plate for the ISM device is shown at 10 with the securement in the trunk of an automobile or in the saddlebag of a motorcycle being by way of the mounting holes 12. The feeder tube holding a plurality of dye containing cartridges 14 is shown at 16—preferably of a 6 inch length so as to hold at least six .68 caliber paintball cartridges. A compressed gas cartridge (e.g. a 12-gram CO2 cartridge) is illustrated at 18. The discharge barrel for the forced out paintball cartridge is shown at 20, of a length at least 5 inches so as to clear the vehicle. A tri-phase LED color indicator is shown at 22 of typical type to illuminate “green” when the CO2 cartridge 18 is at full strength, “yellow” when the cartridge is at half strength, and “red” when the cartridge is of insufficient strength to be effective. Reference numeral 24 in FIG. 1 is a standard type RJ connector for receiving ground and +12 volt DC connections, as well as a trigger for actuating the CO2 cartridge to force the paintball cartridge out through the discharge barrel 20.

In the block diagram of FIG. 5, a power converter circuit 50 is shown having an input at ground 51 and from the vehicle's battery at 52—typically +12 volt DC. The outputs of the power converter circuit 50 are at ground 53, filtered +12 volt DC and −12 volt DC at 54, 55, and +5 volt DC and −5 volt DC at 56, 57. The tri-phase LED is shown at 58—and, as previously mentioned, indicates the active power level and the status of the CO2 cartridge (glowing green when the CO2 cartridge is at full power, yellow when the cartridge is at half power, and red when the cartridge is at low power, for example less than 20%).

An LED latch circuit 60 is the control for the tri-phase LED 58, providing a voltage level to set and maintain the LED indicator status. As shown, the LED latch circuit 60 receives an input from an LED indicator control circuit 62 and essentially provides the needed output for the tri-phase LED 58.

As will be appreciated by those skilled in the art, the LED indicator control circuit 62 provides the maintenance control for the tri-phase LED 58. It receives an input from a pressure sensor circuit 64 which serves to monitor air flow from the CO2 chamber shown at 66. As will be understood, voltages provided at the outputs 54-57 of the power converter circuit 50 serve to energize the components 58, 60, 62 and 64, as well as the triggering components to be described below. As FIG. 5 indicates, the pressure sensor circuit 64 monitors the pressure of the CO2 chamber, and provides the output control to the LED indicator control circuit 62.

The Interceptor Street Marker of the invention is controlled via a manual trigger, shown at 70. With the apparatus of the invention mounted within the trunk of an automobile or within the saddlebag of a motorcycle (as shown at 100), the trigger 70 is normally open. With the apparatus incorporated within the trunk of the automobile, the trigger may comprise a floor strike switch at a location accessible to an operator during vehicular movement, as in a cab portion of the automobile. When the apparatus is mounted in the saddlebag of a motorcycle, on the other hand, the trigger 70 can be located in either or both handlebars, accessible to the operator and similarly in the nature of a normally open switch, operable by means of “hand-power”, instead of “foot-power” as with the trigger of the automobile usage. Actuating the trigger 70 in either event energizes a trigger circuit 72 in controlling various transducer/solenoid components in the CO2 chamber 66 to fire the compressed gas cartridge so as to force the paintball cartridge out through the barrel 20 of FIGS. 1-4. Such airflow is indicated at 90 in FIG. 5, with reference numeral 92 representing the monitored pressure in the cartridge to determine its operating level and the time at which the cartridge should be replaced (preferably at half power).

In a preferred arrangement for the invention, the feeder 16 is selected of a length to hold anywhere between 5 and 10 paintball dye packs 14. With a CO2 cartridge of the type obtainable wherever air compressed guns are sold, testing has indicated that a single 12-gram CO2 cartridge will be able to force out upwards of ten of these dye packs. In a preferred embodiment of the invention, a feed tube is selected to hold 6 fluorescent paintball dye packs to ensure that a series of locations can be marked by police law enforcement personnel when pursuing a fleeing suspect. In such manner, the 12-gram CO2 cartridge employed retains sufficient pressure to force out the 6 paintball cartridge dye packs before the CO2 pressure drops to a level at which replacement should be had.

While there have been described what are considered to be preferred embodiments of the present invention, it will be readily appreciated by those skilled in the art that modifications can be made without departing from the scope of the teachings herein. For at least such reason, therefore, resort should be had to the claims appended hereto for a true understanding of the scope of the invention.