What types of communication devices do law enforcement vehicles have?


Today’s police vehicles have cutting edge methods of communicating with lightning speed.  Here’s the lowdown on these devices:

 Mobile data terminals (MDTs) are one communication device in law enforcement vehicles that’s improved police efficiency tremendously.  MDTs are computers that allow offers to access records remotely.  They can check vehicle registrations, outstanding arrest warrants and stolen car reports and receive this important data in just seconds.  This technology lets them allows them to make arrests, solve crimes and locate suspects in ways that would have been impossible just 25 years ago.  They can also exchange messages with dispatchers and speak information such as license plate numbers into the computer, instead of having to type it into the keyboard.  

Mobile phones are another type of communication device used in law enforcement vehicles.  In the ‘olden days’ just 30 years ago, officers would have to pull over and use a phone booth if they wanted to make a call.  Today they have blue-tooth equipped phones that allow them to make hands-free calls from any location.

PDAs (Personal data assistants) are another communication device that law enforcement vehicles are increasingly being equipped with.  These small computers allow officers to enter data outside of their car and give them freedom and access that they don’t have with a computer terminal.  PDAs can be equipped with translation programs that let officers communicate with people who don’t speak English. This capacity is especially important in areas where there are large non-English speaking populations.

Radios are also a communication device that law enforcement vehicles are still equipped with. Radios are crucial in emergency situations where wireless capacity is cut off, rendering computers and mobile phones useless. This was the case in New York City during the 9/11 terrorist attacks when many officers and law enforcement agencies couldn’t communicate with each other effectively. These radios are constantly being upgraded to have higher frequencies and the ability to communicate over different frequencies instead of just one.

Global positioning systems (GPS) are a standard device in law enforcement vehicles throughout the U.S.  GPS lets police locate addresses and get directions quickly when responding to 911 calls, instead of having to consult a map or wait for directions from dispatch. 

As technology advances, law enforcement vehicles will increasingly be afforded better methods of communication, which will allow officers to do their job of keeping the public safe even more effectively.

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