The Most Overlooked Feature in a Police Car

Curious about the cost of a police car? Police departments equip cars with the essential items an officer needs to do on the job. An officer’s car functions as their office as they drive their beat and respond to incoming calls for emergencies.

In today’s high-tech world, it’s easy to overlook the importance of police car computer software in patrol vehicles. But the truth is that software can be a force multiplier for your agency, simplifying work for employees and providing easier access to data. Mobile data terminals, automatic license plate readers, and in-car video cameras are now common in many departments’ fleets. But one essential piece of technology has been largely overlooked: software.

While the hardware that goes into patrol vehicles has become more sophisticated, the software that powers it has typically not kept pace. Why is software a key piece when outfitting your agencies’ cars?

What are police cars equipped with?

Beginning in the 1950s, dealerships started manufacturing police packages on their vehicles to sell in fleets to agencies.

A lot goes into outfitting police fleets. From decals and emergency lights on the exterior to first aid kits and computer hardware, equipping officers with the tools they need to effectively do their job is essential. Some of the tools and resources inside of a police car include:

  • Safety equipment and other emergency response kits
  • Mobile technology hardware, including laptop, smart tablets or cell phone device
  • Radar gun
  • Video camera
  • Automatic license plate readers
  • Radio

But that’s not all. Something is missing.

The most overlooked feature in patrol vehicles is software.

What you have on your computer and mobile hardware is a powerful resource in the fight against crime. Here’s why.

Updated hardware inside of an officer’s vehicle is important when uplifting squad cars but what is even more critical is the software they are utilizing. Equipping officers with software enables them to have access to data in real time and gives them essential insight into the crime they will be investigating.

As technology evolves, so will policing. Most (not all) squad cars have police laptops in them. Software for police cars has become more sophisticated as well, with many departments now using mobile data terminals (MDTs). These laptops function just as a regular laptop would and can access emails, files, and allow officers to access the Police National Computer (PNC) in order to pull vehicle and driver information. Across the board, Panasonic Toughbooks are typically what you find inside agency vehicles.

Inside police car is hardware and software like CivicRMS

MDTs allow officers to access information such as:

  • Driver and Vehicle Information
  • Criminal Histories
  • Wanted Persons
  • Maps/GPS
  • In-Car Video

So, what do officers need besides lights and laptops?


Beyond the hardware and national computer systems, officers need more. Something that can store their own crime records, that lets them know what crime trends are happening in their area. Something with analytics to pinpoint hot spots for crime in their community. Police car software needs to be easy to use, cloud-based, and have readily available support to ensure it’s running properly.

Software for police vehicles needs to have four main capabilities:

  1. Real-time Data Access
    This is critical for officers responding to calls. Knowing what they are walking into before they arrive on the scene can help them be more prepared as to what they are arriving on scene. It can also help resolve issues more quickly and safely.
  2. Analytics
    Analytics give officers the ability to sift through data quickly and with ease. Identifying hot spots enables officers to enter areas with more knowledge and informs how they will interact. Understanding crime patterns equips officers and agencies with insight on how to better police and communicate with the public. In addition, data collected in police cars using the software can then be analyzed and allow agencies to allocate necessary resources to create safer communities.

    Officers have complex and high-risk jobs; police car software needs to be easy to use to create ease and enable officers to spend their time doing what really matters: protect and serve their communities. Records management software is a powerful tool that officers can utilize to streamline reporting.
  3. Electronic Ticketing
    ECitations allow officers to quickly print citations and warning versus having to write it all down on paper. Having one system that enables officers to write citations streamlines workflows and enables officers to spend more time patrolling and less time bogged down by switching in and out of systems to get one job done.

    A benefit of records management software like CivicRMS is the built-in ECitation feature for officers to ticket with ease and fill out necessary fields to complete a ticket.
  4. Cloud-based
    Cloud-based software for police cars is essential for a few reasons. First, it ensures that data is always accessible and backed up, no matter what happens to the physical device. Second, it allows multiple users to access and update information in real time, anywhere. And finally, cloud-based solutions are typically a very cost-effective option.

How does CivicEye software fit into your agency’s police vehicles?

Upgrading new police car computer software can be challenging for agencies of any size. Selecting software that you can count on for support is critical. Partnering with software vendors that understand and prioritize your needs is essential to its implementation and use. CivicEye has 24/7, 365 support with CJIS-compliant support staff.

CivicEye is a leading provider of cloud-based records management software that serves law enforcement. Agencies and patrol cars today need strong digital infrastructure to manage operations and keep communities safe. CivicRMS increases efficiency, enables agencies to communicate and work across jurisdictions.

CivicEye’s products have helped law enforcement agencies across the country better manage their patrol vehicles and operations. Our mission is to provide agencies with the technology they need to work smarter and keep their communities safe.

In an officer’s car, they can search:

  • Hundreds of millions of records in less than a second
  • Records from other agencies with CivicFusion
  • By a wide array of data points such as aliases, citations, gang affiliations, etc.
  • Fragmented filters using a variety of data points to pin down specific case details

CivicEye is mission-critical software that helps keep officers and communities safe. It’s time to invest in a platform that will grow with your agency.

As a high-performance, run-anywhere software – police cars equipped with CivicRMS can streamline incident reporting that supports dash and body cam video, audio and visual surveillance, security camera video, interview audio and video, and more.

Capabilities of CivicRMS:

  • Increases efficiencies and reduces costs in the long run by minimizing reporting and maximizing time on patrol.
  • Stays compliant with local, state, and federal organizations. Through active validation checks, agencies can submit NIBRS-compliant reports with ease
  • Enables officers to find what they need faster and more accurately. Officers are able to search hundreds of millions of records in less than a second.
  • Has a flexible architecture that ensures security and ease of use. Run on CivicEye’s secure cloud or from your own data center and inside your police car.

New police car technology needs to integrate with existing platforms for seamless migration that does not disrupt workflow. Computer-aided dispatch (CAD) integration is replicated in the cloud and distributed in real-time to law enforcement that is accessible on any device. Additional integrations and tools like drug and infection modules within our records management software allow officers to fight the war on drugs and help mitigate risk and increase public safety by streamlining documentation and data sharing.

How will technology in police cars fight crime?

The landscape of policing is changing. As new generations enter the force, their expectation of what they will use on the job will be molded by the technological generation they’ve spent years becoming accustomed to. Many departments are still using out-of-date, sometimes even paper-based, systems to manage their case records. This makes it difficult for officers to quickly and easily access the information they need while on the go. A modern, cloud-based patrol vehicle software solution can help change that.

Technology is always changing, and police agencies must evolve with it to stay ahead of the curve. By equipping officers with the right tools and outfitting police cars with the latest software, you can help them be more effective and productive in their jobs and better protect your community. In today’s world, time is of the essence, and having technology that can do more in less time is a key competitive advantage. It will also help agencies cut costs in the long run.

Designed and field-tested by law enforcement professionals, CivicRMS is built for the real world. Easy-to-use workflows help you become more productive quickly. Equip your vehicle hardware with modern software to serve your officers in the field.

CivicEye software is here to help you modernize your police agency and make the most of your patrol vehicles. Our easy-to-use, cloud-based software can help you streamline your workflow, improve communication, and bring actionable intelligence to your team to combat crime trends quicker. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help your agency fight crime with modern technology.

See what CivicEye can do for your organization