Behind the Sirens – Technological Advances

No sight makes a motorist’s heart stop faster than flashing red and blue lights in their rear view mirror. More often than not, these lights are atop Ford’s proud Crown Victoria – for more than a decade the top choice of law enforcement. But, all good things must come to an end.  After 30 years, Ford is retiring the iconic model line and is replacing the highly-recognizable vehicle with new vehicles featuring more horsepower, better handling and lower greenhouse gas emissions.

Police departments across the country and Canada are on the hunt for Crown Vic fleet replacements and the top three car manufacturers are stepping up with exciting new vehicle options. Ford is introducing its Interceptor series, Dodge is releasing its Charger police cruiser and Chevy has a Caprice model optimized for law enforcement. These vehicles promise new high-tech features that will enhance officer safety and improve officer efficiency on the road.

As is often the case with significant change, many law enforcement agencies have some concerns about the deployment of these new vehicles.  Will the new vehicles be compatible with their legacy equipment?  Where will radios, consoles, docking stations and printers go?  What happens when the airbag deploys?

As law enforcement vehicles evolve, so must the technologies inside the patrol cars that help officers do their jobs.  To ensure that these new technologies meet the needs and demands of officers, and properly function within the constructs of their new vehicles, Panasonic has joined forces with Ford to stay ahead of the curve and design integrated solutions.

At their core, the newest rugged technologies for public sector use are similar to their legacy technologies; known for their quality, durability and reliability.  They have an all-weather design, daylight viewable touch screens that allow users to see critical data and operate the device regardless of lighting conditions, built-in handles, and wireless connectivity, among other unique features.

Some of the newer features, however, are revolutionary.  They offer unparalleled video capture, up to 360o degree visibility, are designed to work with back-end software for seamless video management, including archiving and retrieving, and even have license plate capture technology.

New mobile technologies could also see a role in the police cruiser of the future.  While the vast majority of tablet devices are engineered for consumers and therefore don’t offer appropriate levels of security and durability, Panasonic has designed and constructed the Toughbook Tablet for the mission-critical mobile user, such as law enforcement officials, in mind.  This groundbreaking tablet is built to be reliable and durable, even in extreme operating environments.  It will include satellite-based GPS, full-shift battery life, professional grade accessories and optional embedded 3G/4G mobile broadband connectivity.  Combined with broadband connectivity, the Toughbook Tablet offers quick access to applications and data that could significantly improve a police officer’s ability to make critical decisions that shorten response times and deliver results.

Whenever there is change, there must be adaptability.  The technology industry will continue to work closely with those in the public sector to create the most appropriate and effective technologies to help law enforcement officers do their jobs so that America’s citizens can rest assured that their safety and security remains paramount.