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Beating the Power Crunch: All Those Gadgets in Today's Police Cars Have Become a Real Drain on Their Electrical Systems

NCJ Number
Police: The Law Enforcement Magazine Volume: 26 Issue: 12 Dated: December 2002 Pages: 50-52
John L. Bellah
David Griffith
Date Published
December 2002
3 pages
This article discusses the multitude of equipment used and needed in today’s law enforcement vehicles, the enormous drain placed on a vehicle’s electrical systems, and solutions to reduce the power crunch and create efficient and safe police vehicles.
As law enforcement vehicles and police equipment have improved, so have police vehicle electrical systems. However, technological advances and the demands of contemporary policing have forced law enforcement to place a multitude of equipment into police vehicles, requiring computer management of key systems. This overload has caused a draw on power, killing the vehicle’s battery even when the car is not running. In addition, the high current drain that police lighting and communicating equipment consume while operating is of concern. Solutions discussed to the electrical power crunch include: (1) a device that senses the battery’s voltage and disconnects it before the voltage drops; (2) a dual battery system; (3) an integration of the necessary devices into one system; (4) higher capacity liquid-cooled alternators; and (5) future 42-volt systems.