This news piece got me thinking (the typical joke here is "Scary!"). The headline, "D.C. Police Cruiser Stolen After Keys Left Inside" is pretty much what happened, but I'll provide a short synopsis:
Responding to a 911 call, an officer left his keys in the vehicle which was later found crashed.
I may be simplifying the issue here and possibly glossing over a failure of protocols - but that's not what I gravitated towards. While this is probably a rare siutation (however the article reports that that city has 18 vehicles stolen everyday), an officer leaving their vehicle running is probably pretty common. Why else would they make battery management devices and protection systems? (Look for some of these in our Property Room.)
THAT's the situation I thought of, the times where the officer is supposed to leave their car running, lights flashing for all their glory. No I'm not suggesting that patrol cars stolen during traffic stops are common (has it happened to you?). But you can't tell me that it hasn't happened.
The vehicle industry has thrown in everything in our vehicles. Recently I heard that a new model Honda will include a vaccum. I get to mount laptops, tablets and I've seen commericals where the car can tell me the weather outside - even though I'm, well, outside already. Some even startle me when I start getting sleepy. Commerical/consumer vehicles also include key fob devices that enable a button to start the car. And that's where my mind went.
My hair-brained idea was to have an officer have a fob-like device on their person; maybe a small chip in a smart badge, perhaps simply clipped to a belt... whatever it could be it needed to be out of your way. The vehicle would start and only start with that fob inside the vehicle by the push button technology and be able to continue to run when the officer would exit the vehicle.
But once the officer did, the car would lock up ... save the front doors. Since today's police model vehicles are mostly automatic anyway, perhaps the transmission would lock in park. And no amount of depressing the brake would do anything unless you had that fob with you.
Of course this idea has it's faults and problems. I'm not an inventor, a law enforcement foucs group board member or a car manufacturer. Making sure my ideas are fool-proof isn't my intention.
This would allow the officer to exit during the traffic stop, run back to the vehicle if someone sped off, or accidentally leave the vehicle running when a 911 emergency call overrides memory of protocol. All lowering the chance of the vehicle being stolen. Ok, this probably isn't that massive of an issue requiring millions of dollars to fund. Think about it this way: should your firearm have any technology in it to limit others from using it?
In any case
I'm glad the outcome of the above-mentioned situation was as limited as reported and the vehicle was eventually recovered. There are thousands, tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of products available for law enforcement. You can walk any tradeshow floor and see that for yourself. If you look at each one with the right magnifying glass, it'll show a solution to something.
Some question was asked; some glitch in the system; some error ... some problem in the way things are handled or done. How many news pieces and personal situations led to "ah-ha" moments?
Think about it this way: Today's headaches could very well be tomorrows trend. (Save for memes, planking, milk smashing, those Harlem shake videos, etc.)
Stay safe out there ...