Evaluating and Improving Patrol Cars
--- How MSP and NIJ Team Up to Conduct the Patrol Vehicle Evaluation

September 14, 2018

PhotoEach September since 1975, the Michigan State Police (MSP) conducts its annual Patrol Vehicle Evaluation, sponsored by the National Institute of the Justice (NIJ). This year’s evaluation took place from September 10-17.The important data produced during this weeklong evaluation assists law enforcement agencies throughout the country in making informed purchasing decisions about one of the largest expenditures for their agencies.

Annually, MSP evaluates traditional vehicles such as sedans and SUVs, and also evaluates motorcycles and electric vehicles. The evaluation includes vehicle dynamics, acceleration and top speed, braking, ergonomics, communications and fuel economy. The data produced from the evaluation displays in real time as the evaluation takes place. Open to law enforcement agencies and other stakeholders, the evaluation takes an entire week, with the results first made available to the attendees and then officially published electronically on the MSP, JUSTNET and PoliceArmor websites. That report includes photos and descriptions of all vehicles evaluated, including a section of highlights specified by the manufacturer. MSP evaluates all vehicles with a clean roof, meaning there are no overhead lights or light bars, spotlights, radio antennas, sirens or other emergency equipment, and with the manufacturers’ original tires.

The results report traditionally is one of the most downloaded documents from the JUSTNET website.  Access is provided to the results for evaluation purposes only. Posting the reports does not constitute an endorsement of any of the vehicles or motorcycles included in the evaluation results. In addition to an archive of earlier reports dating back to 1998 (which may prove useful to administrators looking to purchase used vehicles), JUSTNET also features a two-part video series titled “Driving Innovation and Improvement: Michigan State Police Vehicle Evaluation Program,” one of which specifically explains the value of the program to manufacturers. Find them here: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLVz4yB8NoLXtgKs_6QnE9gE1aJ-ncqWpe. We anticipate that the results from the 2019 model year evaluation will be available electronically in late November 2018.

For more information about the Patrol Vehicle Evaluation and to find past years’ reports on JUSTNET go to https://www.justnet.org/compliant/Vehicle-Testing.html.

Alex Sundstrom
Deputy Director, Compliance Testing Services

Updates to NIJ’s Body Armor Standard Driven by Officer Safety, Operational Requirements and Testing Process

February 2018

When NIJ embarks on updating one of its standards, one of the first items on the agenda is to establish a Special Technical Committee, or STC. An STC includes members from three primary groups: sworn law enforcement, public safety and/or corrections professionals; subject-matter experts (SMEs); and engineers/scientists. Often, these roles overlap; we have officers who are scientists, and engineers who are also subject-matter experts. This all adds to the depth of knowledge on the committee.


Improving Emergency Response with Door Numbering

August 2, 2017

I am truly lucky to be able to work with hundreds of schools and law enforcement agencies every year, assisting them in protecting their students, staff, parents, and communities. Recently, while working with a community on improving emergency response by first responders I was asked, “Is there a low cost, easily implemented answer for improving response times to our schools”. I immediately thought of a simple solution that we strongly recommend in all of our school safety assessments and emergency management training, school door numbering. Numbering all of the external doors of a school allows first responders a guide to enter your school through the door closest to the crisis location.


Officer Safety Is Enhanced by Daily Practices

May 25, 2017

As I think back to when I started my law enforcement career in 1987, I am reminded that officer safety is a daily practice. Body armor had only been a standard issue piece of police equipment for about a decade i. Thankfully, more and more agencies are implementing mandatory wear policies for body armor. A recent survey by the Police Executive Research Forum showed that 92% of officers said that they are required to wear their body armor, compared to only 59% from the same survey that was conducted in 2009.


Look for NIJ’s New Mark When Choosing Body Armor

February 28, 2017

If you are responsible for evaluating and purchasing body armor for your agency, the new NIJ Certification Mark (NIJ Mark) may be a helpful tool in identifying NIJ compliant body armor. As of October 2016, NIJ’s CTP began to phase out the NIJ Statement of Compliance in favor of a new registered Mark of Compliance to indicate that specific models of armor have been determined to meet the current ballistic-resistant body armor standard and NIJ CTP requirements, and have been approved by NIJ.


Kenya Aviation Technology Project Could Inform Law Enforcement Aviation Programs in the U.S.

December 15, 2016

A research project to support and enhance the Kenya Wildlife Service Air Wing’s anti-poaching, conservation, law enforcement and counterterrorism missions could benefit rural and tribal law enforcement agencies in the United States.


Looking to Learn More About Evidence-Based Policing? Our New Topic Page Can Help

October 25, 2016

Through the years, evidenced-based policing has been a part of public safety strategy, going by such names as Problem-Oriented Policing, Intelligence-led Policing, COMPSTAT and Hot Spot Policing. Using research to help identify the root causes of crime and then evaluating the effectiveness of certain police tactics in mitigating that crime is not really new. However, the ability to access scientific research to aid in these efforts has certainly changed as more and more academic research databases are made available to the public and public safety, and as more agencies are willing and able to share crime data to fuel academic research in this field.


The Internet of Things: Turning Data Into Insights and Actions

    September 12, 2016

I recently had the opportunity to collaborate with the IJIS Institute on a presentation on the Internet of Things (IoT) for Community Corrections.


What is a School Safety Assessment and Why Should I Have One Done at My School?

    August 9, 2016

As the president of the School Safety Advocacy Council, I work with school districts and law enforcement agencies on a daily basis on how to improve the safety in their schools.



JTIC Answers Your Questions About … Body Armor

    June 16, 2016

Here at JTIC I get a lot of questions asked of me each day via our information request email asknlectc@justnet.org.



Remembering Our Heroes

    May 16, 2016

30 years ago this month, I began my career in law enforcement in a small town in rural western Maryland. Looking back, in many ways, I had more in common with a lawman from the Wild West than today’s police officer. 




    April 29, 2016

Welcome to our newly designed JUSTNET web site. It is a major component of the National Institute of Justice’s (NIJ)'s new Justice Technology Information Center (JTIC).