A StarChase compressed-air cannon behind the grille could eliminate high-speed pursuits. Officers target a suspect’s vehicle with the cannon’s laser, then fire an adhesive, cellphone-size GPS tracker from up to two car lengths away, enabling dispatchers to remotely monitor the route. The LAPD is conducting field tests.
Distracted drivers and loud music can make it difficult for sirens to clear a path through traffic. The intersection-sweeping twin 8.5-inch woofers of the Rumbler system deliver a deep, rolling growl that can be heard (and felt) up to 200 feet away. The system is already deployed in Washington, D.C., and New York City.
The lightbar has evolved from a straight line of flashing lights to a wedge of low-power LEDs. The V-shape formation is easier to spot from odd angles, reducing the chance of a collision as the squad car burns through intersections.
The surveillance equivalent of a street cleaner: roof-mounted cameras that suck license plate data from every car they pass (more than 8000 per 10-hour shift). “It can take a brand-new officer and make him a stolen-vehicles expert,” the LAPD’s Gomez says. An onboard computer compares the plates to a database of outstanding warrants.
If a suspect is hiding under cover of night, roof-mounted thermal cameras cut through total darkness, giving officers the night-vision edge of a police helicopter pilot. Advanced systems can pan and tilt, covering a full 360 degrees around the vehicle.
Car seats aren’t made to accommodate bulky equipment belts. When Atlanta-based Carbon Motors’ E7 cop car goes into production in 2012, it will come with specially shaped bucket seats that keep guns and gear from digging into officers’ midsections.
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From GPS cannons to earth-shaking sirens, all of the latest crime-fighting technology in one car