Ford gives police chiefs tech to surveil officers in their own carsTue, 28 Oct 2014 19:00:00 EST
Police officers certainly have a difficult job in keeping the streets safe, but as public employees in positions of authority, there is still a very real need for oversight. To that end, Ford is partnering with a tech company to offer a new system called Ford Telematics for Law Enforcement on its line of Police Interceptor patrol vehicles that could make cops safer, while giving cities a better idea of what its officers are doing.
The system streams live data about cruisers back to the home base to people like the police chief or shift supervisor. That info includes expected things like speed, location and cornering acceleration, but it gets incredibly granular as well, with records of things like if emergency lights are on, or even if an officer is wearing a seatbelt.
Ford Telematics for Law Enforcement "ought to protect officers as much as it protects the public," said Ford spokesperson Chris Terry to Autoblog. Constantly monitoring patrol cars offers cities a lot of advantages, too. First, it reduces potential liability because a department can prove where each vehicle is at all times. Also, officers know they are being watched and may potentially drive more safely.
As a potential example of the system improving officer safety, according to the chairman of the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund in Ford's release, traffic accidents have been the leading cause of police fatalities in 14 of the last 16 years. A separate study from the group found that around half of the officers who died in a crash weren't wearing a seatbelt. Through monitoring, this solution might go some way toward mitigating that tragic figure.
All Ford Police Interceptor models can be ordered with the telematics system now, and according to Ford's Terry, the Los Angeles Police Department is already showing interest in acquiring it. To be clear, Ford doesn't have access to any of this data from municipalities; the automaker is simply offering the equipment as an option for departments to use. Scroll down to read the full press release about the new technology.
Technology Co-Developed by Ford and Telogis Aims to Improve Police Officer, Public Safety
• Industry-first technology co-developed by Ford Motor Company and Telogis is intended to encourage safe driving behavior, reduce vehicle maintenance costs and municipal liability, and defend against complaints and litigation
• New technology encourages more widespread safety belt use, and can help prevent collisions involving police officers
• New system integrates vehicle telematics and law enforcement technology
DEARBORN, Mich., Oct. 28, 2014 – Ford has a new way to help police agencies save lives, prevent injuries and potentially help save millions of taxpayer dollars.
As agents of law and order, police officers monitor driving behavior to ensure the safety of the motoring public. But until now, unless investigators removed a police vehicle's black box and pulled the data after a traffic crash, no one has been able to monitor police vehicle operating conditions.
To help address this issue, Ford and Telogis have co-developed an industry-first telematics solution that builds on Ford's existing Crew Chief powered by Telogis and is designed specifically to help meet the monitoring needs of law enforcement agencies. The technology provides intelligent data and analytics law enforcement agencies need to dramatically improve officer safety and driving behavior, heighten situational and operational awareness, and help reduce vehicle maintenance costs.
With the addition of Ford Telematics on Ford Police Interceptor vehicles, police administrators can monitor officer location and vehicle operating conditions. While many agencies have policies that require officers to avoid excessive speed and that promote safety belt use, until now they had no visibility into the real-time driving habits of officers to enable training and encourage safe driving behaviors.
Ford Telematics for Law Enforcement builds upon the core design and engineering philosophy of Ford Police Interceptor for maximizing officer safety. And this is key to helping prevent police crashes by mitigating high-speed driving and encouraging safety belt use.
"We have a responsibility to the communities we serve and to our fellow officers to make safety behind the wheel one of our top priorities," said Vartan Yegiyan, director of police transportation II and commanding officer, Los Angeles Police Department. "The collaborative process that exists with the LAPD, Ford and Telogis has allowed us to customize this solution to meet the unique demands of our organization and other Ford police fleets."
"Vehicle accidents are the leading cause of officer fatalities, and even the slightest improvements in driver training and behavior within law enforcement organizations can potentially save lives," said Bill Frykman, manager, business and product development, Ford Motor Company. "Whether in emergency operation or not, vehicle data from this technology, in context with different driving situations will help illustrate to police organizations where changes can be made that will have a profound effect on officer safety."
"Working with Ford, we're delivering a solution for training and visibility for police departments that will be a game changer for their safety programs," said Greg Dziewit, vice president, OEM business at Telogis. "Combining exclusive Ford Interceptor vehicle data with the Telogis platform provides law enforcement agencies with unprecedented levels of intelligence about their fleet operations to drive safety, improve situational awareness during critical events and reduce overall costs."
While firearm-related police fatalities often make headlines, police administrators know traffic fatalities and injuries represent a greater statistical threat to officer safety. According to data from the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, from 2004 to 2013, an average of nearly 55 officers were killed each year as a result of a firearms-related incident. For the same time period, an average of 64 officers a year died in traffic-related incidents.
"Traffic-related incidents have been the leading cause of law enforcement fatalities in 14 of the last 16 years," said Craig W. Floyd, National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund chairman and CEO. "Leveraging technology to improve law enforcement vehicle safety is integral to reducing the number of officers killed in traffic-related incidents each year."
In addition to safety belt use monitoring, the new system builds upon existing capabilities of Ford Crew Chief powered by Telogis to provide visibility into police vehicle lateral acceleration, spins, yaw rates, pursuit mode, accelerator pedal position, brake pedal position, engine torque, antilock braking system events, and stability control and traction control events.
Agencies can also get individualized scorecards on police officers' driving behaviors based on these inputs.
The system is another example of Ford's work to help enhance police officer safety. Last year, Ford unveiled a surveillance mode feature that uses existing sensor technology to automatically roll up windows, lock doors and sound an alarm if, when parked, someone approaches the vehicle from the rear.
For more information on Ford Police Interceptor, visit the Ford Police Interceptor site.
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By Chris Bruce
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