The idea that technology can revolutionize the way law enforcement manages data, resources, and enforce the law has fascinated us for many years – as such, many have speculated what that future will look like for law enforcement.
Many are familiar with the film RoboCop, along with 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 the concept of 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 (except for the 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?
We polled some of our friends in law enforcement and heard some similar “must-have” patrol vehicle tools. Here are the 7 “Must Have” 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.
For a full list of updated equipment, visit our Patrol Vehicle Equipment Page here.