IoT Blog
IoT Blog

How the Connected Police Force Stays Online and Mobile with Wireless Technology

Across the country—in cities, in suburbs and in rural communities—law enforcement budgets are shrinking. While this is especially prevalent in large cities, the Great Recession had a long-lasting impact on forces nationwide. Cuts impacted police agencies differently, but there’s a common trend: departments are tasked with doing more with level-funded or reduced budgets.

But even with fewer resources, police forces can actually do more by leveraging the right technology. In our previous article, we talked about how IoT-connected tools, such as body cams, license plate recognition systems and real-time criminal record reports, can improve both safety and morale. But how does this work? And how does it allow police forces to do more with less?

Well, it all works thanks to the power of high performance technologies that connect mobile assets and mission-critical applications, saving agencies money through simplification and error reduction. It means that officers are wasting less time on problems arising from missing or inaccurate information, or as a result of a downed connection. It also means they can serve and protect more effectively.

Infographic - In-Vehicle Technologies

Regardless of the size of a police force, these sworn public servants uphold their duties even in the toughest conditions. The right connected technology keeps officers mobile, prepared and safe, even when budgets are tight.

Keeping All Devices and Systems Connected

The modern police car isn’t just a vehicle; it is a mobile information center. The officer needs to have real-time access to reports, databases and other key information. They need to be able to access and transmit information, including video. Cruiser and body cameras can transmit footage to headquarters or to fellow officers’ in real time. This ensures that backup officers are dispatched knowing the exact situation, resulting in a greater level of awareness and ultimately, safety.

That’s where a high-performance Vehicle Area Network comes in. The VAN connects all of your mobile devices and mission-critical applications. It uses a rugged router that is built especially for use in vehicles. The router sends a Wi-Fi or cellular transmission across a Wide Area Network (WAN), using end-to-end VPN security to make sure that all data remains safe and secure.

The benefit of the IoT-enabled router is that all mobile devices and mission-critical applications remain connected at all times, even in remote area or areas where a signal would typically be interrupted. And for large city forces, which have large fleets with many connected technologies, the force can manage multiple VANs using advanced network management solutions—these are available in-the-cloud or on-premises, and provide centralized, real-time and secure asset management, designed specifically for mobile deployments.

There are three different types of devices/applications that have to be connected, all of which are crucial to ensuring that officers have all the information they need to perform their duties. These are:

  • In-Car Devices

- Laptops

- ALPR cameras

- Cruiser-mounted cameras


  • Portable Devices

- Tablets

- Body-worn cameras

- E-ticketing systems

  • The Vehicle Itself

- Engine diagnostics


- Driver behavior systems

How Connectivity Saves Money

Let’s look at the last category above: the vehicle. Using remote diagnostics, headquarters will have the insight they need to determine if a car is performing poorly. Then, the maintenance team can respond to perform repairs before a small issue turns into a significant one. A technician could even be dispatched to the field if the need arose. Or if an officer needs help, the exact location of the car can be known to everyone in real time.” 

That makes the process easier. You know that fewer vehicle breakdowns equals lower repair costs. But it’s the same with networks. Being “always connected” means less network downtime, fewer interruptions and greater across-the-board efficiency.

Costs are also lowered by consolidating traffic over a preferred network with an optimized data plan. By integrating end-to-end security as part of the system, security costs are lowered.

Most importantly, constant connectivity means that your workforce can be completely mobile. Routes can be optimized, information can be transmitted to save time and emergencies can be more easily prioritized over non-emergencies. Connectivity means focus. It means that officers can spend their time being officers, protecting and serving, and not worrying about whether their network is working. It means they can do more with less, because lower budgets shouldn’t ever mean fewer resources.

VAN technology provides a way to improve budget efficiency by lowering your costs and simplifying various processes. It’s how police forces will thrive in the 21st century. Start with Sierra to get connected.