Ford Brings Telematics To Law Enforcement For Greater Safety, Transparency

Cameron Aubernon
by Cameron Aubernon

To further transparency and improve safety, Ford and Telogis have debuted a system that will gather information on a given police officer’s driving practices.

The Detroit News reports the system — having debuted in both Explorer- and Taurus-based Police Interceptors last week — can track speed, when lights are switched on, whether an officer is wearing their seat belt et al, all in real time from its place under the dashboard.

The goal? For agencies to use the information to improve how their officers drive, and to have detailed records linked to any crashes that may occur in the line of duty. Ford’s manager of business and product development, Bill Frykman, explains:

Vehicle accidents are the leading cause of officer fatalities, and even the slightest improvements in driver training and behavior within law enforcement organizations can potentially save lives. Whether in emergency operation or not, vehicle data from this technology, in context with different driving situations will help illustrate to police organizations where changes can be made that will have a profound effect on officer safety.

The telematics technology originated in Ford’s line of commercial fleet models back in 2009, with Telogis coming in to help the automaker bring the system to the law enforcement market. Ford has no access to whatever is recorded, with the data secured between the vehicle and the agency that owns it.

The Los Angeles Police Department will be the first to implement the system, with other agencies coming on-board in early 2015.

Cameron Aubernon
Cameron Aubernon

Seattle-based writer, blogger, and photographer for many a publication. Born in Louisville. Raised in Kansas. Where I lay my head is home.

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11 of 43 comments
  • FreedMike FreedMike on Oct 29, 2014

    Rumor has it they've already pre-loaded all the Dunkin Donut locations in the greater L.A. area into the system.

  • Lou_BC Lou_BC on Oct 29, 2014

    Tattle-tale devices have been used in commercial vehicles for decades. It makes sense to use in Emergency vehicles. I used to work as a paramedic and due to increased liability/litigation for serious and frivolous claims, these devices have become necessary. The BC Ambulance Service policy was/is - you crash and you are not following proper policy and procedure, you are on your own. It has affected driving habits but as one police officer said, "if nothing happened, then nothing happens". (in other words, don't get caught breaking the rules).

    • See 2 previous
    • Lou_BC Lou_BC on Oct 31, 2014

      @28-Cars-Later - depends on institutional/department policy. If the 80 mph pursuit meets chase criteria then the on board telemetry will back up the officer. A long time ago a court ruling from the USA put the operators of emergency vehicles "at a higher standard" which was what burst the dam in relation to frivolous litigation. there was a period of time where emergency vehicles were being targeted by people to " cash in" on the "higher standard" ruling. Another ruling which affected liability was whether or not the lights and sirens response was necessary. An example is responding lights and sirens for a cardiac chest pain. If an EMS unit got into an MVC and the chest pain turned out to be indigestion the courts would be more inclined to rule against the EMS crew. Frivolous. Some EMS services even considered banning any lights and sirens response.

  • OneAlpha OneAlpha on Oct 29, 2014

    I think the bigger problem here, and there's always a bigger problem, is the attitude of "...and in procedure we find salvation." If everybody just followed all the rules, we'd have a perfect world. Yeah, maybe. Following all of the modern world's rules all the time is impossible, yet too many people think that if someone got hurt or something got broken, it was because somebody didn't follow procedure. So instead of doing something rational like imposing limits on what, where and when people can sue each other for, we scatter surveillance cameras and tattletale telematics across the landscape and congratulate ourselves that we've made the world safe for special snowflakes and trusting souls and people who have nothing to hide. The perversion of due process that is the zero-defect, accountability-uber-alles, box-checking mindset isn't the answer, for civilians or the police. I may not know what that answer is, but I'll fall back on something my mom told me a long time ago: NEVER. PUT. ANYTHING. IN. WRITING.

    • LectroByte LectroByte on Oct 30, 2014

      To quote the supporters of those who gleefully analyze your credit records, your phone records, your email and chat data, your location data from license plate cameras: if you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear. Why shouldn't this apply to the those entrusted with enforcing justice?

  • Karvanet Karvanet on Oct 29, 2014

    Simpler versions of this have and are already being used by many if not all larger police departments. Walk into any police telecoms office and you'll see all the police cars moving through the streets on the big screen. Click on any of them and you'll know how fast it's travelling etc.