Whether it’s a refresh or equipping new vehicles, outfitting an entire fleet isn’t always easy. Between product options, safety, technology advancements, budgets, RFPs, contracts, and timing, the buying process can be overwhelming and long.
From our 20 years of public safety experience, we have put together a quick cheat sheet of things to consider in the process of choosing the right solution.
Patrol vehicles have morphed into mobile offices for public safety officials. Vehicles are now equipped with the right tools giving officers the ability to do their job from anywhere at any time. The computing device plays a huge role in outfitting a vehicle because it is what connects all the law enforcement tools together.
With the overwhelming number of different options to choose from, where should one start? Two main factors that contribute to the final decision are device form and durability.
Getac offers rugged laptops, tablets and convertibles. Each style has its benefits:
- Tablet: This device achieves the best ergonomic footprint within the vehicle. The compact device saves space while also being airbag compliant. Placement can be at eye level and is the best setup for two-man patrols because the passenger can also view the screen. While this solution provides the best in-car setup, tablets are built as is therefore there’s no option to upgrade memory or hardware after purchase. However, modern tablets have come a long way in computing power from iPods and devices running android software in the past.
- Laptop: Ideal for single-man patrol because of the ease of portability. It allows for officers to take the single unit (screen and keyboard) between vehicle, home and office. While laptops are a little bulkier, the advantage to this form is they typically include CD drives, additional USB ports, Ethernet ports for all your connected devices. Additionally, memory and hard drives are upgradable while in the field and battery life is longer.
- Convertible: Offers the best of both worlds. It has the advantages of being mounted like a tablet with the ease of portability like a laptop.
Rugged versus semi-rugged is a key distinguisher in a patrol computer. While a fully rugged computer seems ideal, they are significantly more expensive and was created to withstand extreme conditions (built with high-drop, water and dust protection). Conditions that not every officer will encounter on a daily basis.
Semi-rugged computers are built tougher than ever. Today, semi-rugged meets the MIL-STD 810G standards for use in a police car. This includes vibration, altitude, spill-resistant, no-fault coverage. Additionally, semi-rugged reduces the cost of ownership beyond the initial purchase cost, because for example, out-of-warranty parts are cheaper to replace than fully-rugged. Overall, a semi-rugged device meets and exceeds patrol and typical field use standards for a lower cost than a rugged device. However, in extreme climates or with particularly rough officers, rugged computers may be the best option for you.
The right mounting solution plays a critical role in the vehicle workspace due to potential safety implications. Invasive mounting impedes the safety of the officers by impacting airbag deployment and windshield and mirror visibility. Brite focuses on creating safe and ergonomic in-vehicle workspace while incorporating all technology needs.
Additional features that relate to the mounting that Brite incorporates are low-profile consoles, cup holders, USB charging ports and pen holders.
Frankly, having the right computer and a mounting solution is useless without a good connection. Connection and communication aid in both productivity and safety by providing constant access to databases and communication. Reliable connectivity is even more important. Law enforcement departments can utilize the public safety-specific networks – FirstNet and Band 14. These networks provide law enforcement with uninterrupted connections. Brite is partnered with top technology partners, including Sierra Wireless, that ensure devices remain connected at all times.
Each department has its own unique set of needs and finding the right solution to meet them while maintaining safety and productivity. Let Brite help you and your department find the right solution today!