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The Patrol Car "Toolkit"

Author: Christopher Tarantino, Public Safety Communications Consultant, L-Tron Corporation

The idea that technology can revolutionize the way law enforcement manages data, resources, and helps to enforce the law has fascinated us for many years – as such, many have speculated what that future will look like for law enforcement.

In 1987 (and again in 2014), this speculation produced an iconic film, RoboCop, that explored how law enforcement agencies might engage with technology.
Many are familiar with this film and some of its more-quotable lines. In one scene, when asked what his “prime directives” are, RoboCop replies: “Serve the public trust, protect the innocent, and uphold the law.” Though RoboCop may be a little far-fetched, the notion that technology can enhance the law enforcement mission is not; in fact, these directives are the same goals of today’s officer (sans cyborgs and a little less mayhem).

It is undeniable that technology will play a crucial role in the future of law enforcement, but what other tools are essential now?

A significant number of 21st Century police officers live and work in his/her patrol car; as such, reliance on technology as well as other tools to accomplish tasks is a must. More importantly, tech, tools and other systems must be integrated/versatile, portable, and extremely rugged.

We polled some of our friends in law enforcement and heard some similar “must-have” patrol car items. We compiled a short list of “toolkit” essentials to consider for your cruiser:

1. Knife/Multi-tool – The first essential item for the patrol car and a favorite for many in first responder roles, having a knife or multi-tool can literally be a life-saver in a tough situation. Even if you carry one on your belt/in your boot, a back-up blade or tool in your vehicle could come in handy and is a solid investment.

2. Flashlight – Though the standard issue torch may work just fine (for many reasons other than its lumens), newer flashlights have some unique features: variable output levels, tactical settings, rechargeable batteries, weapon mounts, and even toothed/crenelated bezels as a last line of defense.

3. PC/Tablet – Not all departments have adopted tablets or vehicle-mounted PCs, but those who have benefit from a variety of apps and a level of integration never before possible. Tablets and PCs can be paired with Computer-Aided Dispatch (CAD) systems, electronic citation software, enhanced Geographic Information Systems (GIS) mapping, and much more.

4. First Aid Kit – This one makes the list for pretty obvious reasons. Include the life-saving essentials (AED, gloves, tourniquet, etc.), but get creative with your kit by adding some non-traditional supplies such as duct tape, glow-sticks, tampons and towels for gunshot wounds and trauma, and other items. You never know what will come in handy!

5. Smartphone – The jury may still be out for BYOD (“bring your own device"), but there is a percentage of officers who use their personal devices for informational purposes every day. Some practical uses for a smartphone include: intelligence gathering, photo/video, calculator, social networking, and other applications. These devices are enhancing capabilities in new and innovative ways.

6. Citation Management System – At one point or another, you’re going to issue a citation. Many municipalities are utilizing driver’s license barcode scanning technology. Citation management has improved to save time and minimize hassle with traffic stops across the country – this leads to increased situational awareness, improved legibility/usability of citations and reports, and, as a result, improves officer safety.

7. Pen & Paper – Not very “high tech,” we know, but this really does make the list as an essential tool. The uses are endless and the pen/paper approach will always be there.
What tools and technology are in your patrol car? We want to know what you can’t live without and what unique items you store in your vehicle – let us know by commenting below or reaching out to us on Facebook or Twitter (@LTronCorp)!
Recommended: To learn more about other tools, technology and patrol car solution packages, visit our micro-site for more information, stay tuned for future case studies and articles, or contact L-Tron Corporation directly.

Interested in partnering with L-Tron Corporation for technology and systems automation support? Contact us at or at (800) 830-9523

About the Author: Christopher Tarantino is L-Tron Corporation’s Public Safety Communications Consultant and brings almost ten years of experience in public safety, emergency management and special operations. He works with and provides subject matter expertise/training across the country with a variety of agencies.