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.

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 on Facebook or Twitter (@LTronCorp)!