The Tesla Model 3 is the perfect police car; officers just don’t know it yet. When the Westport Police Department (WPD) ordered a Tesla Model 3, it didn’t expect the EV to fit so seamlessly with the job. However, Tesla’s affordable sedan proved its worth to the WPD, and it hasn’t even reached its full potential as a police car yet.
When the WPD ordered a Model 3 Performance to add to its fleet of police cars, it already knew some advantages Tesla’s EV would have over its more traditional vehicles. WPD publicly announced that it was buying a Model 3 for its fleet through a Facebook post in early December.
Based on the FB post, the police department knew buying a Tesla vehicle would raise awareness in its community about EVs and their positive impact on the environment. The WPD also listed a few benefits the Model 3 Performance could bring to the police officer who was fortunate enough to drive it.
In its FB post, the WPD wrote:
"A few other electric vehicle benefits that are relevant to police usage:
- The Model 3 has an extra trunk in the front of the vehicle where an internal combustion engine would usually be, affectionately called “the frunk” by the Tesla community, where officers will be able to store emergency equipment that’s important to be kept separate from cargo in the rear trunk.
- Every Tesla comes straight from the factory with many features installed in the car – like its front, side, and rear-view cameras – that a police department would typically need to install at extra cost. These cameras can also be used in “Sentry Mode” to monitor the vehicle and vicinity when the vehicle is parked. Chief Koskinas is in direct conversations with Tesla to work on potential ways to leverage the car’s existing systems to better meet the needs of a police force.
- For those very rare occasions when it is both safe and necessary to do so, the all wheel drive Model 3 is capable of reaching 60 mph in 3.2 seconds, and it has a top speed of 162 mph, outperforming all other vehicles in the Police Department’s current fleet.
- Police cars can spend lots of time idling, as they need to keep the internal combustion engine running to power the lights and keep online computers running properly while not draining the battery. In any fully electric car, the tailpipe emissions from those long sessions spent parked will be eliminated. With Fairfield County’s air quality being among the worst in the country, eliminating emissions during idling is important.”
Fast forward to about two months later, in February 2020, and the Tesla Model 3 police car has proven itself to be even more useful than forecasted back in December 2019. Initially, the police department had planned to modify the Model 3 to fit an officer’s needs. However, Tesla’s native tech proved more than sufficient to meet the rigorous work demanded of a policeman.
According to EV Club CT, the WPD did not need to change the Model 3 Performance’s headlights and brake lights. The department was able to directly wire police lights and a siren to the Tesla’s batter as well.
The extra police equipment didn’t even affect the Model 3 Performance’s range. Other than police lights and a siren, the WPD also installed another tablet and a modem to the Model 3 police car. The WPD didn’t know how Tesla’s hardware and software could be useful to police officers.
The Tesla Model 3's Potential
Most police departments don’t know it yet, but the Model 3 Performance is actually the perfect vehicle for officers—for reasons other than the ones listed above.
Despite their growing popularity, Tesla’s cars are still a mystery to a large portion of the population, even in the United States—as evidenced by the WPD. For instance, the Westport Police Department still installed a modem in its new Model 3 cruiser. While this is required for now, such modifications may be unnecessary in the future, especially with features and services such as Tesla’s Premium Connectivity Package.
The internet is just one of the resources a police officer needs in his/her vehicle, and Tesla already provides it. The EV company has a lot of the innovative police technologies officers could use to make their jobs easier today.
Erik Fritzvold, Ph.D., who serves as the Academic Director for the Master of Science in Law Enforcement and Public Safety Leadership at the University of San Diego, made a list of innovative tech that would be useful to 21st-century police officers. The list included tech like facial recognition software, Automatic License Plate Recognition (ALPR), and artificial intelligence.
It is widely known in the Tesla community that Elon Musk and those in the company's AI team are working hard to build artificial intelligence that will make vehicles safer with Autopilot and FSD. This, of course, will be as useful to police officers, as it will be to civilians. Tesla's efforts are of course focused on consumers, but it's not a stretch to infer that the company may release modified versions of its tech and features that are optimized for police work.
It's not just the tech that makes the Model 3 a perfect police car, either. In a statement to EV Club CT, the Westport Police noted that the vehicle's innate characteristics, such as its instant torque and quick acceleration, make the Model 3 very useful for patrols and potential pursuits. Thanks to its twin electric motors, the vehicle would be capable of outrunning high-performance cars. Even in the event of a collision, officers will be protected, thanks to the Model 3's 5-Star Safety Rating.
Featured Image Credit: Westport Police Department/Facebook
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Longtime writer and news/book editor. Writing about Tesla allows me to contribute something good to the world, while doing something I love.