The patrol time machine

Deputies with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department will time travel this year. No time circuits or flux capacitors are needed, though, just the help of a defense technology company that specializes in electronics and mission systems...

But change this drastic and on this scale comes with its resistance. Deputies who had been trained and in service with the old system didn’t initially want to be required to rework their daily processes and sit through tech training for an entirely new system. That is, Walton says, until they got in their car that was outfitted with the Raytheon-designed system. “After they use it, once the become used to it … they’re happy to have all of this information [accessible] and to see how it can save them time.” Small things, like getting familiar with a new version of Windows software versus what the officer had been used to at home were minor hassles. But the chance to revamp an old, largely paper-based system, which required deputies to haul heavy, cumbersome bags full of extra forms and codes or reference sheets (such as for counterfeit money calls), showed officers dividends quickly.

During the current rollover, Costa says they have already seen deputies “go from not wanting it to anticipating [the upgrade].” He adds that the department is doing the changeover bit by bit (at about 100 to 125 a month of the 2,400 total to be converted) because each computer system must be made electronically unique (for high-tech features to work properly such as GPS mapping and tracking) and time is taken to work out any hiccups.

‘Ultimate patrol vehicle’ model

Motorola also offers a next-gen configuration for patrol units. The Motorola “ultimate patrol vehicle” model utilizes the Chevy Caprice with a PTT button in the steering wheel, eight cameras, plus an integrated console controlling lights, sirens, PA, gun lock and radio. Motorola’s digital in-car video system, the MVX1000, the MDT in-vehicle computer (MW810 Mobile Workstation), mobile CAD, VML700 modem and APX 7500 Multi-band Mobile Radio make up the tech center of the system.

The cop’s ‘cockpit’

Rockwell Collins, probably known best for its established place in the aerospace industry, entered the law enforcement market in 2010 with the announcement of its integrated public safety vehicle solution, the iForce, made to do for the law enforcement patrol vehicle what the company did for the pilot’s cockpit. Integrating radio, electronics and computer functions into a single system, the iForce provides for an officer’s on-scene needs for communication, control and security while enhancing situational awareness. The design leverages the company’s expertise in providing ruggedized, highly reliable integrated electronics and communications solutions for military vehicles and aircraft. (Watch video of a ride-along with the iForce system

Into the future

You don’t need a flashy sports car with gull-wing doors to fly into the future.

For an agency serving the most populous county in the United States, after 20-some years of an aging system, the time for a new unit to serve in-field info needs is here. And with any new tool implementation comes a large cost and a large risk if anything should go awry. The Raytheon and LASD mobile office project currently underway is planned to finish next year and is a big investment for the agency. However, one that has come from many years of biding time to seek technologies that would not just make a slight improvement for an aspect of patrol, but send the entire vehicle fleet and its designated operators eons into the future.

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