Smart Cruiser: The Future Of Police Cars

Police vehicles have evolved significantly over the years.  

History of the Police Car:

Early Years:

In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, police officers mainly used bicycles and even walked their beats. Horse-drawn carriages were sometimes employed for patrolling in larger cities.

1920s - First Patrol Cars:

The 1920s marked the first use of patrol cars. Ford's Model T was one of the earliest cars used for police work due to its affordability. These vehicles had minimal modifications and served primarily for transportation.

1930s - Police Package Cars:

During this decade, car manufacturers started producing police package vehicles. These cars were equipped with more powerful engines and heavier-duty suspensions to meet the demands of police work.

1940s and 1950s - V8 Engines and Radios:

The 1940s and 1950s saw improvements in police vehicles with the introduction of V8 engines, which significantly improved speed and performance. Police radios became a standard feature, enhancing communication.

1970s - Muscle Cars:

The 1970s marked the era of powerful police vehicles, often referred to as "muscle cars." Models like the Dodge Charger and Ford Interceptor were used for high-speed pursuits.

1980s - Shift Towards Sedans:

Police departments shifted towards using sedans, often large, V8-powered cars. The Ford Crown Victoria became a staple in many departments.

1990s - SUVs and Specialized Vehicles:SUVs, like the Ford Explorer, gained popularity among police departments due to their versatility. Specialized vehicles for SWAT teams and K9 units also became common.

2000s - Focus on Fuel Efficiency: With growing concerns about fuel efficiency and emissions, many departments started incorporating more fuel-efficient vehicles. The Ford Crown Victoria was phased out in favor of newer models.

2010s - Diverse Fleet: Police fleets diversified, including hybrid and electric vehicles for more eco-friendly patrolling. Technology integration, including laptops and communication systems, became standard.

Present Day - Advanced Technology: Modern police vehicles are equipped with advanced technology, such as integrated computers, license plate recognition systems, dash cameras, and in some cases, autonomous capabilities. There's a focus on enhancing connectivity and data collection to improve policing.

Police vehicles continue to evolve with advancements in technology and environmental considerations. The choice of vehicles often depends on the specific needs of each police department, balancing performance, efficiency, and cost-effectiveness.

Tech Introduced to Police Cars Over The Last Decade

Various Technologies have been introduced to police cars over the years. Of course the most classic way of notifying pedestrians was a yell, but that quickly advanced to bells once bikes appeared. Over time we have seen far more advancements beyond bells for a bicycles in this next section we will cover some of the advancements in technology that have been introduced over the years. These advancements have made policing more effective by reducing time and cutting cost. Over the last decade the technology introduced to law enforcement has revolutionized the way police has been done.

CB Radio (Citizens Band Radio) & FCC regulated Emergency Band:

  1. Introduction: CB radios were one of the earliest forms of communication in police cars, dating back to the 1940s.
  2. Usage: CB radios enabled officers to communicate with each other and dispatch, especially in areas with limited radio coverage.
  3. Advancements: While CB radios have become less prominent due to more advanced communication systems, they are still used for secondary or backup communication
  4. FCC: The Public safety spectrum arrived in 2002 and serves the mission-critical communications needs of First Responders charged with the protection of life and property, such as police, fire fighters and Emergency Medical Service (EMS) providers.  

License Plate Readers (ALPRs):

  1. Introduction: Automatic License Plate Readers (ALPRs) are modern technology introduced in the 2010s.
  2. Usage: ALPRs automatically scan and read license plates to identify vehicles, check for warrants, or locate stolen vehicles.
  3. Benefits: They enhance law enforcement's ability to monitor traffic, identify suspicious vehicles, and recover stolen cars. Here's a link to your article for more details.


  1. Introduction: Dash cameras and in-car cameras became standard in police cars starting in the 1980s.
  2. Usage: Cameras record video and audio during police activities, serving as valuable evidence in investigations and interactions.
  3. Body-Worn Cameras: In the 2010s, body-worn cameras were introduced, providing a more comprehensive perspective during encounters with the public.


  1. Introduction: In-car computers were introduced in the 1970s, offering improved access to databases and communication tools.
  2. Usage: These computers assist officers in checking records, issuing citations, and obtaining real-time information during patrols.
  3. Laptops and Tablets: In recent years, laptops and tablets have become common, providing enhanced mobility and multitasking capabilities.


  1. Introduction: Sirens have been a crucial part of police cars since the 1930s.
  2. Usage: Sirens are used for auditory signaling, alerting other road users and pedestrians during pursuits or emergencies.
  3. Advancements: Today, sirens are equipped with various tones and patterns for different situations, improving safety and communication.


  1. Introduction: Emergency lights have been standard on police cars since the 1950s.
  2. Usage: Flashing lights enhance visibility during emergency responses and high-speed pursuits.
  3. Advancements: Modern police cars use efficient LED lighting technology, offering improved visibility and reduced energy consumption.

These technologies have transformed police cars over the years, improving the efficiency and safety of law enforcement operations. While some technologies, like CB radios, have become less prominent, others, such as license plate readers and advanced camera systems, continue to evolve and play a vital role in modern policing.

Future tech for police cars:

Over the last decade we have seen the police force move from bicycles to electric vehicles, the introduction of radios, cameras and lights. In this section we will go over some of the newest technologies we can expect to see in the future of Law Enfocement.

Self-Driving Police Cars:

In-Car GPS:


Advanced Self-Balancing Motorcycles:

Electric and Hydrogen Cars:


The future for these items holds promising advancements that will empower law enforcement agencies with greater capabilities, efficiency, and safety. These innovations will play a crucial role in the evolution of policing and public safety.

Vehicle Prototypes

With the introduction of new technologies are key to the evolving space, vehicle designs are also a part of the shift in technology. In our follow up article we will go over the new advancements in police vehicles.

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