If summer blockbuster movies are to be believed, police cars aren't much more than family sedans with a beefier engine and an overhead siren. They're usually depicted as easily outmaneuvered by wily criminals or anything resembling a Batmobile.
But the reality is that law enforcement vehicles are getting increasingly sophisticated and high-tech. Case in point is the Chevrolet Caprice Police Patrol Vehicle (PPV), the LAPD's next-generation, which comes equipped with a 6.0 liter V8 engine that provides 355 hp and 384 foot-pounds of torque, enabling the vehicle to go from zero to 60 mph in less than 6 seconds. OK, so Batmobile neutralizer it is not, but it does come with a plethora of technologically advanced improvements that help to automate much of the on-duty officer's tasks.
- A forward-looking infrared night vision camera that can pick up on the a suspect's footprints in the dark.
- A license plate scanner, dubbed Automatic License Plate Recognition (ALPR), that can detect if a vehicle belongs to suspected criminal and alerts the attending police officer.
- A GPS system that lets those at the police headquarters know the location of all vehicles so that they know which unit to dispatch an accident nearby or in case reinforcements need to be sent.
- USB Ports for thumb drives, WiFi and a wireless-mesh network.
- An integrated central computer system that can be operated using a dashboard touchscreen display. Everything from the light bar to criminal background checks can be accessed and operated via the main interface.
- Seats that are custom-molded to fit a holstered gun and radio to prevent the items from pushing up against the officer's lower back and make for a more comfortable patrol experience.
- A backseat partition that protects the officer as well as eliminate driving blind spots.
- An extra battery in case a marathon car chase ensues.
The Chevrolet Caprice Police Patrol Vehicle PPV is scheduled to roll out in 2012, but some of these features have already being used in existing police cars. So even in the meantime, criminals aren't going to catch much of a break.
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This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com