Telematics and its benefits for police fleet management

The safety and security of society often depend on the efficiency of law enforcement agencies and their fleets. Police fleets are expected to be ready to respond quickly to a variety of situations. Speed, reliability of the information, and coordination of actions are critical elements required to make sure officers and police fleets have what they need to do their jobs.

Telematics and its benefits for police fleet management

Challenges Police Fleet Face That Telematics Can Help Solve

There's no doubt that police fleet vehicles see a lot of use, and budgetary concerns often delay their replacement, making this a big concern for public safety. A part of police fleet management is improving the lifecycle management of fleet vehicles and getting the most out of them. Increasingly, police fleets are investing in police telematics for fleets to solve these challenges. But what is fleet management, and how can it help?

Driver and Vehicle Safety

Police officers need to respond quickly when in pursuit of fleeing vehicles or responding to emergencies. This may cause them to speed, increasing risk for the officers, their cars, and other vehicles that share the road. Officers must also quickly communicate accurate information while concentrating on driving safely, a challenge under normal conditions.

Analyzing digital data about their performance can help improve officer and vehicle safety but is usually gathered from many different sources, making it hard to keep track of. Police telematics technology provides accurate information and reporting with:

  • GPS tracking that offers near real-time locations
  • Route optimization and efficient dispatching
  • Notifications of unauthorized vehicle activity
  • Instant alerts when a vehicle speeds without activating the light bar
  • Scorecards that monitor risky driving behavior and help reduce it

This information gives police fleets a 360-degree view of fleet vehicle locations, schedules, and routes. And if something happens, such as a vehicle speeding without the light bar on, an alert is sent so that the incident can be verified as a real emergency and additional resources can be dispatched if needed.

Reliable and Consistent Fleet Maintenance

Police fleets need to get the best performance from their vehicles and extend their useful life for as long as possible. This isn't easy when fleet vehicles are driven hard, as police fleet vehicles often are. They face increased wear and tear due to the nature of police work and the circumstances under which they operate. More frequent repairs, higher repair costs, and shorter vehicle life cycles can strain budgets that are already stretched thin.

GPS fleet tracking and telematics software solutions can help these fleets optimize their vehicles' health with proactive maintenance capabilities that include:

  • Setting up alerts for preventative fleet maintenance
  • Notifications of diagnostic trouble codes
  • Access to engine diagnostic data to keep costs under control
  • Monitoring fleet vehicle wear and tear caused by driver behavior

Back-office operations can quickly review alerts to evaluate diagnostic trouble codes and determine if a vehicle needs to be pulled off the road immediately for repairs or if the issue can wait for the regularly scheduled maintenance. Fleet managers can also set up alerts for harsh driving events that can impact how often brakes, rotors, tires, and more need to be replaced. This helps control costs and informs decisions that affect the fleet's bottom line.

Controlling Costs and Stretching Limited Budgets

Law enforcement fleet vehicles take a beating. This excess wear and tear will require costly and more regular repairs, maintenance, and parts replacement. Police forces with tight budgets need to get the most out of each and every police vehicle, but not at the expense of the officers operating the vehicles, often at extreme speeds.

Police telematics software can help improve efficiency and lower operational expenses by enabling police fleet managers to:

  • Lower fuel consumption—every fleet's most significant expense—by reducing speeding and idle time, identify unauthorized vehicle use and verify fuel costs to help minimize fraud
  • Dispatchers can reduce mileage and excess wear and tear by optimizing routing with near real-time maps that display vehicle locations and provide step-by-step driving directions
  • Work to lower insurance premiums by using telematics data to develop and implement fleet safety programs

Managing Tasks and Leveraging Actionable Data

Police fleet managers often struggle to get insight into the activities of their fleet vehicles and assets and then apply that insight to improve fleet operations. It can be especially difficult to view the location of all fleet vehicles and equipment while simultaneously tracking the movement of mobile command trailers, generators, digital message boards, and other assets.

Telematics technology can help fleet operators:

  • Gather data on all tools associated with each vehicle
  • Visualize data to dispatch vehicles more effectively
  • Increase police fleet responsiveness

The scorecard feature offers a graphical user interface that shows performance over time, giving police fleets the ability to review and analyze performance quarter over quarter, month over month, and year over year. Police telematics software lets fleet managers measure an array of KPIs and review automated reports and alerts to deliver important data so they can make information-based decisions about the fleet.

Maintaining Public Perception

Public perception is increasingly essential to law enforcement departments. There is increased concern about public safety, and a stronger magnifying glass is being used to examine how police fleets operate. When police vehicles are involved in accidents, it can negatively impact the department's reputation, even more so if it keeps happening. And aggressive or risky driving without the light bar turned on puts the public at risk and may pose a legal liability.

Telematics solutions can help law enforcement fleets to improve public perception by giving them the tools to:

  • Document the date, time, and location of the police vehicle's speed
  • Demonstrate responsible usage of public dollars backed up by data
  • Offer proof of activity and presence with reports on vehicle activity
  • Share emergency locations and response times with 3rd-party responders

Public perception is often based on responsiveness. Police telematics technology helps fleets dispatch the nearest officer almost instantly and makes it easier to coordinate mutual aid. When a disaster occurs and emergency response is required, it often involves more than just a police fleet response. Telematics gives police fleets the ability to share their information with other aid agencies, integrating efforts in real-time and streamlining the response.

Benefits of Telematics Solutions for Police Fleets

Almost everything a police fleet does has a life-or-death urgency about it. But this can create more issues when police officers drive at breakneck speed to get to their destinations. Below are some ways that telematics can benefit police fleet management.

Improve Safety and Reduce Risk

We've discussed the challenge of safety and reducing risks for police fleets, now let's look at the benefits telematics can offer in this important area. Law enforcement agencies must make the safety of their officers and the public they serve their number one priority. The added risks police officers face when behind the wheel include multitasking, answering dispatcher calls, entering information such as license plate numbers, names, or other search queries on dashboard computers—all while keeping track of speeding vehicles and other events.

A telematics solution can help police officers as they face these daily challenges, helping them stay safer by:

  • Monitoring and alerting them to vehicle speed to reduce speeding when not en route to a call
  • Providing a clear picture of their driving behavior so they can see harsh braking and acceleration events
  • Supplying customized data that allows coaching of officers on their behavior so they can improve their driving
  • Monitoring and measuring seatbelt usage so that the information can be integrated into safety programs
  • Identifying the exact vehicle location when sending help in an emergency

Enhanced Fleet Utilization and Operational Efficiency

Police fleets are generally large and often on the go. It can be challenging to keep track of all the vehicles and equipment and ensure that all assets are used efficiently and to their maximum capacity.

Police fleet management telematics supplies real-time vehicle statistics and usage data so the fleet managers can:

  • Identify critical metrics such as hours of use and miles traveled so they can establish a baseline for measuring improved utilization
  • Analyze each vehicle's history to accurately determine utilization and compare vehicles throughout the police fleet to help meet benchmarks
  • Simplify asset tracking to manage inventory better and locate equipment such as computers, software, phones, printers and radios
  • Quickly address last-minute and emergency needs by rerouting vehicles on the fly based on job assignments, location, and miles driven
  • Efficiently reroute vehicles based on unexpected weather conditions and traffic data

Helps Police Fleets Save Taxpayer Dollars and Become More Efficient

Police departments constantly deal with budget constraints and intense scrutiny by government officials and the public. Everyone worries about how much and where the money is spent. They want better vehicle health monitoring, more efficient route planning, and less money spent on fuel. Telematics technology helps fleets achieve these goals with:

  • Live maps that show each vehicle's location
  • Historical reports and analytics to better manage and improve public perception
  • Fuel usage reports to better manage costs
  • Coaching tools that encourage and improve safe driving behavior
  • Centralized fleet vehicle maintenance schedules and service records

When selecting a police fleet management solution, look for one that helps you reach your goals and meets the current needs of the law enforcement agency while also being able to adapt to the challenges of the future.

Look for a police telematics solution that provides:

  • Accessibility on any device at any time
  • Maps that track officers, vehicles, and equipment
  • Dashboards that offer up to date fleet data and analytics
  • Coaching and driver scorecards that support and improve safe driving

If you are looking for a fleet management system, contact us today.

A fully-implemented and supported MiX Telematics solution is guaranteed to improve driver safety and reduce accident rates while also lowering risk, liability and cost.

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