TECH

New tech protects police officers in parked Charger Pursuit vehicles from ambush

FCA announced a technology that will enhance safety for police officers working in parked vehicles. The Officer Protection Package detects movement behind police vehicles using cameras and radar and warns the driver. The plan is to implement the module in all 2017 Dodge Charger Pursuit law enforcement vehicles, which are the best-selling high-performance police vehicles in the U.S.

The new feature comes from a collaboration between FCA US and InterMotive Inc. of California. It will be provided at no cost to law enforcement agencies.

"This technology is designed to prevent an officer from being ambushed from the rear while parked," Jeff Kommor, Vice President of U.S. Sales Operations, Fleet, and Small Business Sales, said in the press release. "While it does not replace vigilance, this technology acts as a second set of eyes and provides police officers with added peace of mind when they are in a parked Charger Pursuit."

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Ambushes of police officers last year pushed agencies to seek technology of this sort, according to Intermotive.

The Officer Protection Package comes into play when an officer is pulled over and working inside his or her vehicle. While focused on the task at hand, the officer may not sense somebody coming up behind their vehicle. The package uses the Charger Pursuit's existing rear park assist system and rear backup camera to alert the officer of movement.

It is a simple installation to attach the module, which can be secured under the dash and plugged into the OBDII port. To activate it, officers press the Aux 1 button.

Activating the Officer Protection Package also turns on the reverse sensors, which sound a chime when tripped. Upon alert, the officer can see what's behind the vehicle via the camera display. The doors also lock, the front windows roll up, and the taillights flash.