managers want to ensure they get the best possible vehicles and equipment for the
front line officers. Gone are the days of working in a vacuum. Today, all of
the manufacturers offer test vehicles complete with test equipment and test
setups to gain valuable feedback from the front line officers. We want the
patrol officer’s input; we need the patrol officer’s input.
getting feedback can be tricky, especially since we are now dealing with
varying levels of “techno-absorption.” New officers were born with an iPhone in
their left hand and an iPad in the other. Their technology expectations are
very high. On the other hand, some senior officers have been doing just fine
with the old system and there is absolutely no need to change anything.
you are testing new vehicles and new high-tech equipment, it may not be the
best method to put that equipment only in the hands of a senior officer who
perhaps isn’t as tech savvy as the younger officers. (This is how the term
Techno-Peasant was born.)
senior officer’s have that “Crown Vic” mentality? The attitude where everything
they evaluate is going to be biased with that notion of “I am used to my Crown
Vic. This is different. I don’t like it. It is too small.” To these senior
officers everything is benchmarked off the CVPI, and that may not be wrong. But
let’s say you tested that same equipment with a younger officer who has grown
up with a smartphone and has been driving a newer, smaller high-tech vehicle
since they got his/her license.
someone who has used, and developed muscle memory for a CVPI over his/her
entire career switch all of a sudden to the new vehicle designs and equipment
ergonomics? Is it fair to evaluate a vehicle with feedback from an officer with
five years left in his/her career versus someone with five years on the job?
Are we building these new vehicles for the next generation of officers or the
current generation of officers?
story from a senior officer testing the new Interceptors was the comment he
left on the evaluation form. “Vehicle performed well, but I couldn’t see anything
out the back or sides, the A-pillars are too big, and when I backed up, the
vehicle gave off an annoying beeping noise.”
This is someone
who never used a backup sensor-equipped vehicle and is used to the A-pillars in
a CVPI. To meet mandated crash and rollover standards, the OEMs have no choice
but to make the A, B, and C pillars bigger, wider and stronger. A younger
officer driving a new car already has experienced the larger pillars and has
developed muscle memory for how to adapt with shoulder checks and mirror setup.
It is a
balance between older generations, comfortable in what they know, and the newer
generation always looking for what’s new. The newer generation is much more
likely to adapt and overcome any frustrations or obstacles associated with
change in equipment as opposed to the senior officer with 20 years of muscle
memory doing things one way.
an officer a test vehicle for a couple of shifts probably isn’t going to
produce true and accurate results. Police officers are creatures of habit and
as such, we need time to adjust and compensate. To achieve better, more
valuable, more accurate, more constructive feedback, consider a month or so of
testing the same vehicle.
consider a mix of both junior and senior officers. Using the test vehicle or
test equipment for a month or longer allows for this adjustment and after a
level of comfort is established, the vehicles and equipment can be evaluated