Criminal threats have evolved over the years. New responsibilities in a post-9/11 environment challenge law enforcement at the local, state and federal level. Emergency response capabilities are increasingly part of any street cop’s job. But the resource most critical for so many of these challenges—the patrol car—has never evolved to keep pace.
The car used by the vast majority of police officers — the Crown Vic — was designed back in the day of Saturday Night Fever and bell bottoms. This car wasn’t designed for the unique stresses and needs of law enforcement. It was designed for the same purpose as the Volkswagon Bug — to sell quickly and cheaply to regular consumers.
While the nation’s other first responders and public servants drive vehicles designed for the job, like fire trucks driven by the nation’s fire services, the 800,000 law enforcement first responders drive cars retrofitted with equipment. Can you imagine calling the fire department and seeing some guy in his pick-up truck pull up to your house with a hose welded into the back? Why then should the men and women who risk their lives to protect our neighborhoods every day be asked to go out in passenger vehicles with equipment welded awkwardly into place instead of a car designed to fit the needs of law enforcement?
This is an idea that is finally gaining steam. Prominent law enforcement and homeland security officials are lining up behind the notion of a purpose-built car.
“At the local, state and federal level, law enforcement is up against entirely new challenges that didn’t exist 30 years ago,” says Secretary Ridge, one of the backers of the next-generation police car. “That’s why we need to arm the men and women who protect our communities with the most up-to-date equipment.”
Carbon Motors, a new American automaker, is looking to change that. The company has spent years recruiting law enforcement to assist in the design of the car to create a vehicle specifically built for the needs of law enforcement. The company has recruited more than 1,000 cops to provide input on the design and resources needed.
Some of the features include:
* Designed to 250,000 mile durability specification
* Aluminum spaceframe body structure
* 75 mph rear impact crash capability
* Cockpit with fully-integrated factory fitted law enforcement equipment
* Integrated emergency lights, spot lights, take down lights, and directional stick
* Segment exclusive coach rear doors for safer suspect ingress and egress
* Optimized approach / departure angles and ground clearance
* NIJ Level III-A (or better) bullet protection (front doors and dash panel)
* Reverse backup camera
* Remote start capability
* Driver specific intelligent key
* 360 degree exterior surveillance capability
* Automatic license plate recognition system
* Video and audio surveillance of rear passenger compartment
* 130hz – 350hz bass siren
* Nightvision compliant interior illumination
* Integrated forward looking infrared system (FLIR)
* Integrated shotgun mounts
* Optimized storage capability (compartment and cargo)
* Integrated front and rear passenger compartment partition
* Hoseable rear passenger compartment
* Integrated push bumpers and PIT capability
Full disclosure: My firm, the Adfero Group, has agreed to work with Carbon Motors to raise awareness about the need for law enforcement to have the same kind of suitably designed car that can assist and protect them as their counterparts in other first-responder industries.