Between handheld citation devices, laptops, tablets and body-worn cameras, the modern-day police officer lugs a lot of electronic gear around during patrols. To keep those gadgets connected to internal networks, police departments are installing connectivity hardware into squad cars that only a few years ago would have provided Wi-Fi to coffee shop customers.
Boise, Idaho's police department, for example, recently deployed Boise-based Cradlepoint 4G LTE wireless routers in its 150 patrol vehicles after an 18-month process. The adoption was part of a broader department effort to upgrade cruisers with locally made technology.
Before adopting the new system, the department used USB modems that officers plugged into cabin-mounted laptop computers. While individual modems were convenient, they often went missing and broke easily, wasting officers' time as they searched for a replacement.
The new wireless system allows enough connectivity for officers to use car-mounted tablets and stream video from both dashboard-mounted cameras and body-worn cameras back to headquarters. Officers can use the modems as Wi-Fi hotspots as well, allowing them to walk about 500 feet from their cruiser with a handheld device and remain connected to the network.