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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


Now that you have your personal space looking better it’s time to move to the trunk. How often have you opened the trunk to find equipment scattered everywhere? Not only does this make it difficult to find what you need, it can lead to damaged equipment and even some safety issues.

Trunk organizers are available in many different styles. Some are generic, allowing you to set up the trunk in the manner most convenient to you. Others are preset according to the manufacturer’s suggested manner.

Ford has responded to the recent concern involving the Ford Crown Victoria police vehicle by designing a vehicle-specific trunk organizer. The company believes this product will reduce the possibility of fire by preventing equipment in the trunk from puncturing the gas tank in the event of a rear-end collision. The Ford organizer also includes a Kevlar layer to help prevent punctures of the organizer.

Organizers are also available for tidying up the back ends of special duty vehicles such as SUVs. An example from Odyssey Automotive Specialty Inc. features shelves and drawers that can hold almost any type of equipment. Another supplier of trunk organizers is Truck Vault. The company sells systems designed to fit in Ford, Dodge, and Chevy police sedans and SUVs. These systems feature a combination of drawers and shelves to provide optimal storage flexibility.

When choosing any type of organizer for your patrol vehicle, consider your equipment needs and how accessible each item will need to be. Ballistic shields, weapons, and other equipment used for emergency response must be accessible at a moment’s notice, so be sure to store them accordingly. Consider storing weapons in locking drawers or cabinets with combination locks. This will allow you to secure your weapon while still allowing for quick access. Because other items such as cameras and crime scene equipment don’t require security or immediate access, they can be placed on shelves or in non-locking drawers.

Some manufacturers will custom-design and build an organizer to fit your needs. However, many standard models have excellent features and you might find they can easily accommodate your equipment needs.

Organization both up front and in the trunk can make your job easier. It can help you keep track of equipment and even prevent its loss, which will no doubt score you some brownie points with your superiors. Safety is also an issue, as you don’t want all that equipment flying around during a pursuit or traffic collision. Although it might seem like an inconvenience at first, getting your car organized will give you time to focus on your job and ensure that you have the right tools at your fingertips in an emergency. And that can make all the difference in the world.

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