‘Smart’, Connected Vehicles Are Here

Oct. 15, 2018

Last year when our family was shopping for a new truck, I was amazed at all of the high-tech features that were available, including a back-up camera, built-in navigation, sensors and the ability for my iPhone to connect to the main screen—so much information at the touch of a button. Walking through car lot after car lot, I realized many vehicles had changed in terms of technology features since that last time I’d purchased a vehicle. These high-tech features weren’t just included in the ‘fancier’ cars as I had previously assumed—they appeared in plenty of vehicles on the consumer market.

Is this the new standard? It might be moving in that direction for consumer vehicles, but is it the same for law enforcement patrol vehicles, too?

The short answer? Yes. There’s plenty of cool (and effective) technology available for today’s patrol car. On page 8, we focus on newer technologies available that were designed with officer safety in mind. One such technology reminds me of KITT from Knight Rider. With the bluePRINT system by SoundOff Signal, light and siren configurations can be pre-programmed to respond to emergency situations without the officer having to remove their eyes from the road. In one example, if an officer is coming through an intersection, all they have to do is touch the horn and the car reacts—the flash pattern and siren changes more rapidly and after six seconds, it automatically goes back to where it was. In the same article we discuss FCA’s Officer Protection Package, part of which uses sensors to alert officers when movement behind the vehicle is detected. When this system detects motion, a chime alerts the officer who can immediately see what is behind the vehicle via the camera monitor. If the local law enforcement agency chooses, the tripped sensors can also be programmed to automatically initiate a signal for the doors to lock, roll up the front windows, etc.

From the number of ridealongs I’ve done with different departments, however, I have come to understand that every agency varies in its technology implementation. While some agencies are quick to adopt new vehicles, equipment, uniforms, etc., others have strict budgets to meet that don’t allow them to try the latest and greatest. Despite varying budgets and technology levels, one similarity I found between each agency I’ve visited is each officer’s commitment to upholding the law, serving and protecting citizens.

Okay, readers, now we want to hear from you. What technology in your patrol vehicle do you appreciate the most? For those veteran patrol officers, how has technology in your vehicle changed from when you first started? Share your story with me at [email protected].

Stay safe,


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