Ford’s fleet telematics partner, California-based Telogis, is introducing a police version of its Crew Chief tracking system that lets businesses see where and how their vehicles are being driven in real time. According to Wired, 50 police cruisers have been equipped with the new “Law Enforcement Edition” hardware that actively transmits OBD data—such as throttle and brake position, speed, yaw, traction-control status, and more—to the station. The number-one goal, says Telogis, is to reduce police-related traffic fatalities. Last year, nearly 44 percent of the 105 officer deaths nationwide were caused by car accidents, many of which involved officers not wearing their seatbelts. The other benefits to tracking nearly every detail of an officer’s drive—accountability to the taxpaying citizenry, cutting maintenance and fuel costs—are there, too.
Most police departments use some form of GPS tracking and dashboard video cameras for dispatching and evidence during traffic stops. But the Telogis system can tell if an officer is accelerating hard or if the engine needs an oil change. It can record maximum speed, whether the sirens and lights are activated, and, of course, how often an officer wears his or her seatbelt. Software then creates driver profiles of every officer so identifying problematic drivers is a smartphone app away. The system will be available on Ford’s Interceptor vehicles starting early next year.
The tech may be a boon to police watchdogs like Ron Carr, who regularly films speeding cruisers on North Carolina highways with a specially outfitted Honda Odyssey (really), but the system’s undisclosed price and potential backlash from officers in the field—who already are under close scrutiny—may see departments adopt it slowly, if at all.