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How to Organize Your Patrol Car

Clean up the clutter in your vehicle and you just might find your job easier.

February 01, 2004  |  by Brian Stover

It’s your home. For eight hours a day, your patrol car is your home and office. It’s the place where you stay cool in summer and warm in winter. But is it also the local junkyard? It doesn’t need to be. Today there are a number of ways to keep your mobile office organized.

Let’s face it, space in patrol cars has become about as rare as a revolver as a duty weapon. Over the years, the cars used for patrol have become smaller, yet are required to hold more than ever before. Gone are the days of a single radio and siren control. Now we have mobile digital terminals or laptop computers, multiple radios, video systems, radar, Lojack, a shotgun, and a patrol rifle. And that’s just in the front seat. In addition, all of this must be arranged so as not to interfere with your vehicle’s air bags. It’s a wonder there is any room for you.

The trunk is even worse. Typical of some of the equipment carried today are flares, cones, blankets, first-aid kits, cameras, ballistic shields, a separate stun-bag shotgun, additional ammo, crime scene tape, and the list goes on. Throw in your personal gear bag and you need to sit on the trunk like an overstuffed suitcase just to close it.

Clear the Cab

First, let’s try to get your personal space in order. One of the best ways of organizing the myriad forms, paperwork, and other small items that accumulate in the front seat is a Posse Box. The Posse Box, available in various sizes, combines a clipboard for writing along with inner compartments for storing pens, pencils, and report forms. In the lower storage area you can use cardboard dividers to separate the material.

Posse also makes outstanding holders for citation books. They, too, are available in different sizes and styles to fit most ticket books. Another option for your citations is a leather cite book. One can neatly hold a ticket book, reference material, and completed citations. Both aluminum and leather holders can also be used as improvised defensive weapons in case of a sudden assault.

Once you have your paperwork organized, you can put your Posse box, maps, and cite book along with your flashlight, extra ammo, and a host of other equipment in a carrier conveniently attached to your passenger seat. One of the best is made by Uncle Mike’s, a name very familiar to law enforcement.

All of that stuff littering your passenger seat fits neatly in Uncle Mike’s carrier designed to hang over the headrest.

Secure Your Firepower

I firmly believe that an offensive weapon should be readily available in the front seat area. Whether a shotgun or patrol rifle, it needs to be immediately accessible. The long gun must be secure yet easily reached. Several racks are available to hold these weapons in various configurations. Make sure the one you choose, though, fits your weapon. Don’t try using a shotgun rack or lock to hold your patrol rifle. It will not fit correctly, which could affect accessibility and security.

The setup you choose for your secondary weapons will depend on a variety of factors, including the mounting of communications equipment, the position of air bags, and whether or not your vehicle has a cage or shield. Both horizontal and vertical racks are available to hold shotguns and patrol rifles. They can be mounted between the seats vertically, horizontally on or in front of the prisoner barrier, or vertically near the dash. These gun racks are available from companies such as Big Sky Racks, Santa Cruz Associates, Setina Manufacturing Co., and Tufloc.

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