How nice would it be to have a daily report on your health? You could stop an infection right in its tracks, even at the smallest hint of a cough, it could be treated before progressing into a cold. Think of the doctors' visits, and time off work that could have been saved. Flu season in Iowa inspired this wonderful metaphor, but today I would like to talk about your vehicle health.
Law enforcement officers are put into dangerous situations daily. From gun violence to high speed chases your daily routine can be stressful. KELTEK supports and works towards improving officer safety in our services -we build with officer safety in mind. At KELTEK we put deep thought and consideration into every vehicle we build. We felt it would be valuable to show you some of the differences in our builds and reasonings behind our install techniques. As well as the tools we recommend and are able to provide to increase officer safety.
Mobile connectivity is a hot topic in the industry of public safety. Having a reliable connection in a mission critical environment is a must have. KELTEK provides two primary options for mobile connectivity solutions. To help assist you to distinguish between the two and find out which is the best solution for your department, we broke down the similarities and differences between Sierra Wireless MG90 & MP70.
Recently Kelly Milligan and I had the honor of presenting at this year's Police Fleet Expo in beautiful Savannah, Georgia. The topic presented was Department & Upfitter relationships, but with a creative spin. I'd like to recap our session for you so you can get the feel for the courtship process we take here at KELTEK.
Topics: Vehicle Upfitting
So after working until 10:30 PM on a gunlock fitment problem and still not finding a solution, one of my leads and I hung our heads in defeat. What to do? We tried two different gunlock solutions in multiple configurations. As we locked up the shop we were quiet. Both of us were lost in thought - as we had been the last two hours of fighting gunlocks. It seemed no matter where or how we mounted it, the foot would not allow the vehicle’s printer to open up, which made the loading of paper impossible. Or the barrel of the gun would rub the headliner. Of course, both predicaments are unacceptable in the KELTEK world.
Topics: Vehicle Upfitting
I must admit, I joined the pop-culture group of people who love to listen to true crime podcasts and are intrigued by the Summer of Sam era. I know...you're wondering what this has to do with mobile routers.
There is something that stuck out to me personally while listening to these stories - The lack of communication between departments during that time in history, and how that could've changed everything. Fast forward to today, we can be connected and communicate all the time. With that said, we still have come across departments that seem to be stuck in the times of transmitters in patrol cars!
For this reason, the team here at KELTEK thought it would be wise to educate our audience on the benefits of Sierra Wireless AirLink® Routers. The reliable communication they provide and the dedicated public safety network you can get with them.
“Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.” – Martin Luther King Jr
1. Reliable Connectivity
When you are working in an industry where you put your life on the line for the sake of others, you need to be taken care of as well. To do your job most effectively you need a reliable connection to your department and coworkers. In today's communication landscape, we've gone way beyond the radio. There are a variety of communication tools at your disposal. If you want to send video or location information in real-time a mobile router installed in your fleet vehicle is a great option.
2. Network Swapping
You also have access to network redundancy while using a Sierra AirLink® Router. These routers have a sub-second network switching to the highest strength network signal, so you don't skip a beat with your network coverage. Rural communities used to be a tough place to get a good signal, but with the redundancy of communications, you can keep your department live and on the map at all times.
3. Multiple Devices
Sierra's routers can connect up to 110 devices to your mobile router at one time. This means at high traffic public events, after a major natural disaster, or any mission-critical situation where most of your department is on the scene, you all have a reliable connection with a dedicated public safety line. Your team will not be bogged down by civilian use of a network, there is now FirstNet, Verizon, and US Cellular that all have data plans that give you the ability to receive a dedicated network in the public safety industry. There's a peace of mind knowing that you can easily communicate with your team during mission-critical events.
4. Vehicle Telemetry
The AirLink® Mobility Manager (AMM) feature of these mobile routers is really impressive and detailed. This application configures real-time reports from your fleet vehicles. From vehicle diagnostics allowing you to see any error codes or problems going on within the vehicle. There's also link utilization, giving you the ability to see a time-based depiction of network connection & which networks your router switched to. All of the dashboard's information can be accessed remotely for higher insight and control of your vehicles.
Ask us about our service program that gives departments quarterly fleet reports via email, these updates include but are not limited to:
- Coverage Maps – fleet-wide cellular coverage maps to assess overall carrier or network performance
- Coverage Trails – connectivity for individual vehicles by location
- Link Utilization – time-based view of connectivity status for each active WAN link
- Availability Trend – the percentage of in-service time that individual gateways were accessible over-the-air
- Bandwidth Consumption – the volume of data received/transmitted on each network
These routers are purpose-built for vehicles. Having a mobile office is ideal for any first responder and these routers are rugged enough for the job. They can withstand more vibration than a standard router. Getting your in-car or body-worn camera videos sent in real-time is ideal for evidence capturing or mission-critical information getting sent back to base without having to wait. Another feature is mobile multi-network security, so you don't need to worry about your data being breaching while it's transferring to its final destination.
To learn more about the benefits and use cases for the various AirLink® models stay tuned to our blog and subscribe to our newsletter - there's more to come on mobile routers!
Durango Deep Dive
Hey, I'm Chris, the shop manager here at KELTEK. After dozens of Durango upfits in the KELTEK shop, we want to take a moment and pass along some of our insight regarding installation nuances this vehicle has – which may have implications for your department’s budget and lead times. All vehicles present challenges for an upfitter, and the Durango is no different. KELTEK has identified 10 Durango installation dynamics for you to consider.
1. Push Bumper
When adding a push bumper to a pursuit Durango, it takes a bit longer than normal to remove the front skin of the vehicle because there are screws that are not easily accessible. Reassembly presents the same challenge because the fasteners are barely accessible and fairly fragile.
Both the exterior and the interior trim packages take longer to deal with than other squad makes. The Durango requires more of the trim to be removed to accomplish the clean build for which KELTEK is known. Though Dodge gets the “clean build” aspect correct with their hidden screws within the trim, this is an additional time issue that impacts the overall installation time and cost.
3. The ConsolePlain and simple, the OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) console is tricky to take out. The shifter is within the console, providing integration challenges for all of the needed squad technology within easy access for the officer. The Havis console shown below, though clean, illustrates the challenge with this vehicle – how many components can you identify missing from the pictured Durango below? (And how would you maneuver the shifter to include your department's needed technology?)
Durangos are not pre-wired for aftermarket add-ons that are the norm to most pursuit vehicles. Unlike Chargers, Explorers and Tahoes, Durangos are pursuit-rated but do not have the same tap options. Lighting options will need to be supported by an upgraded siren/light control module – KELTEK prefers the Whelen Carbide or CanTrol system.
Ford's Interceptor pre-wiring loom
5. The Battery
The Durango's battery is under the passenger seat – one of the least convenient locations for an upfitter. To provide a high level of integrity for your Durango upfit, the implication here is simple – additional hours to upfit your Durango.
6. Wire Harness
In addition to the trim issues described above, the vehicle presents challenges for the upfit wiring harness by not offering routing and placement systems for a public safety specific vehicle. In a nutshell, we must get very innovative in dealing with the KELTEK 180+ wire loom.
Placement options for a low-frequency siren does not exist on the Durango itself. In this instance, we’ll use Whelen’s “Howler” for example. The Howler location option on the Durango is limited to the push bumper. For example, with the Interceptor we can also mount, and hide, the Howler in the fender wells.
Making matters more challenging, choosing a push bumper mounted Howler eliminates the ability to put wraps on the push bumper and alters how we think about lighting a push bumper.
We tend to shy away from solutions that limit our departments’ choices, but with the Durango, we experience this challenge, including the integration of a low-frequency siren.
The lower frequency siren also has a very limited amount of mounting options on the Durango.
Because of the trim dynamics listed above, including headliner, it is simply more time-intensive to work on this area of the Durango as compared to other vehicle models. This also presents challenges to deal with the variety of antennas needed to support technology in the squad vehicle.
The complexity in working with the vehicle’s trim also impacts the vehicle’s lightbar installation. Due to the laborious nature of working with the trim and, specifically, the headliner, we duplicate the same challenges with the Durango’s lightbar.
10. Weapons mount
There is only room for a single gun lock in the Durango’s cockpit, mounted on the front of the cage. A dual gunlock is just too tight, and the configuration eliminates other common must-have elements found in the console. Officer safety and ergonomics is a priority in each upfit we perform, and a dual gunlock configuration sacrifices both of these.
Our Durango standard is a single gun mount for a front-mounted rifle. If a shotgun is required, we often mount behind the driver or store/mount in the rear of the vehicle.
KELTEK is here to partner with your department in all of your squad projects, from upfit to technology integrations, and when paying for the project in a single invoice or over several years.
Our goal isn’t to dissuade you from choosing a Durango squad vehicle, but rather to educate you on the reasons additional labor is often needed for a Durango upfit. We are happy to work with you to understand your vehicle needs and goals, and to provide you a quote for any vehicle you are considering so you have the best information possible in making your departmental decisions. We are proud to serve those that protect us.
Topics: Vehicle Upfitting