Police cars of the future may not be cars at all.
The SUV may soon become the standard patrol vehicle given the trend of shrinking sedans coupled with the increasing amount of equipment that squads need, Schaumburg Police Sgt. John Nebl said.
The next generation of police vehicles was introduced Wednesday to the newest generation of Schaumburg residents -- third and fourth graders at Dirksen Elementary School.
Not only did they see the new standard size of the patrol vehicle, but the state-of-the-art equipment it will hold.
More than $500,000 in state and federal grants went toward the purchase of equipment for the department's fleet. That includes an in-car video system, laptop computers, a new radio system and an automated license plate recognition system.
The latter allows patrol officers to automatically scan all license plates they drive past, checking them against databases of stolen cars, wanted persons, Amber Alerts and terrorist watch lists.
The new radio system allows officers to more easily contact other departments throughout the state. And the video system can provide streaming video to the village's Emergency Operations Center and automatically upload every time the vehicle returns to the station.
In addition to the upgrades, SUVs simply handle better in all conditions and cost only about $1,000 more than sedan-style patrol vehicles the department had been using, Nebl said.