We’ve long wondered how cops kitted out in uniforms and holsters and vests can possibly get comfortable in cruisers crammed with gear, like the console-mounted laptop that lets the officer check whether you’ve got any outstanding tickets, when they pull up behind you at a red light.
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) is proposing a solution to that cramped cabin, with a law enforcement-specific version of its infotainment system, dubbed Uconnect 12.1. So-named for the 12.1-inch screen that looks a lot like the one in a Tesla Model S, FCA says this is the first example of OEM touchscreen tech being customized to work with police computer systems.
The manufacturer tells us it worked with the company’s cop car vehicle design team to come up with an integrated design that could take the place of the console-mounted laptops, with the goals of eliminating “dangerous impact points” inside the car and airbag interference, reducing officer distraction, and improving ergonomics. Uconnect 12.1’s rollout comes after a 2012 LAPD pilot project that saw that city add Chargers fitted with prototype systems to their fleet.
All of the usual Uconnect functions remain, like radio and climate controls, but the cop-grade version adds a special menu that hooks the system into the police department’s network. The new Charger Enforcer also adds a fourth, pre-wired-and-fused auxiliary button that can be used to toggle future upfits, like extra lights, sirens, cameras, or computer systems.
In addition to its cop functionality, Uconnect 12.1 includes the same consumer-grade features that have made their way into most cars, like Bluetooth, and Siri Eyes Free.
So, next time you see a cop driving a new Charger cruiser, better hope you’re all paid up, because FCA’s just made it easier for the fuzz to figure you out.