The State Patrol is putting a new look car out onto Iowa’s roadways. You’ll may soon seen troopers cruising around in a car that’s one of three colors, Arizona beige, smoke stone or silver birch — as the new cruisers replace the standard brown vehicles. Lieutenant Shane Antle oversees the highway patrol’s fleet and says the switch to three colors was a business decision to get the most out of the cars when they’re re-sold.
Antle says auction results indicate that selling the same colored patrol car again and again drops the price they get for a car taken out of service. The new cars will still carry the standard yellow shield on the sides with the words “Iowa State Patrol”, but you’ll also see more reflective markings on the car to make it more visible.
On top of the car they’re being equipped with high-tech L-E-D light bars that Antle says are brighter and pull less energy from the car. Antle says, “One of the challenging aspects of what we’re doing with the vehicles today is trying making sure the vehicle itself has enough electrical power to handle everything it has to feed.” An on-board computer is one of the pieces equipment that draws a lot of power from the car.
Sergeant Adam Buck says about half their 400 cars have computers and they want to add them to all patrol vehicles –while also upgrading the existing computers. Buck says they’re finding the applications they’re using in the field and the current computers that’re six to eight years old are having trouble running all the applications.
Buck says the new model computers will give troopers more flexibility. He says the new computers can be taken out of the car and fold into a laptop computer that can be taken into an office or home. Buck says offices use the computer to write up all the reports they used on a daily basis. Buck says the computers allow the troopers to use a barcode reader to get information straight from a driver’s license.
And there are other upgrades. He says the troopers will be able to print documents in the car using “blue-tooth” technology and can also use wireless internet connections to transfer reports to a secure website.
Lieutenant Antle says all the high-tech gear improves the trooper’s ability to serve the public. Antle says, “Technology is helping us to better utilize the time we have with violators, with the public.” Antle says it helps the troopers get things done in a minimal amount of time while also being accurate and concise.
Antle says the patrol has been retiring cars after around 130-thousand miles, but he says they hope to bring that down to around 90-thousand to increase the resale value of the cars. Antle says in many cases that means a new patrol car that hits the roads today will be in service about three years.