The death toll is in from 2016 and the numbers are daunting. Overall officer deaths are up by 10% over 2015. Even scarier is the 56% increase in officer deaths from gunfire since 2015. It is reported that officers feel safest in their own buildings and patrol cars, but that false sense of security puts them in more danger as ambush-style attacks trend upward too. Reports like these remind us that defensive tactics are more important than ever. Fortunately SoundOff Signal’s new tool for officer safety, bluePRINT, can help.
When we talk about defensive tactics, warning lights and sirens are not usually part of the conversation. SoundOff’s bluePRINT system changes that. Designed with tactical defense in mind, bluePRINT gives your department full programming control. You program the warning lights and sirens in conjunction with your day-to-day patrols. SoundOff has been working closely with numerous departments around the country to test out the system. Their feedback confirmed that bluePRINT delivers immense tactical defense power.
With up to 82 programmable outputs and 43 inputs, bluePRINT allows more customization than any other system on the market. Because this technology is so new, so different and so customizable, it can be difficult to comprehend its many applications. If you’ve never used it before you may ask so why change? In order to put bluePRINT in context, this article explains how it provides a defensive tactical edge in specific situations.
The Blitz Tactic
The term “blitz” evolved from the German word “blitzkreig,” which means “lightning war”. The word is used to describe the London air raids conducted by Germany during WW2. The bright flashes of light and loud explosions must have been a complete sensory overload, not to mention terrifying. This is essentially what you’re doing to a threat when you activate the blitz function.
Deploying the blitz can give you a few extra seconds to react when you feel threatened. It allows you to momentarily disorient the threat of the perpetrator and overload their senses with blazing lights and blaring sirens. You can activate the blitz function by reaching into your squad car and hitting a designated panic button. Depending on how you program it, this button could be on your steering wheel, dash, or elsewhere.
We had two scenarios in mind when we developed the blitz function–a traffic stop and an ambush. In an ambush where threats are coming at you from multiple angles, blitz can light up your whole vehicle and set off a loud multi-directional siren. In a traffic stop, blitz can illuminate the front of your vehicle, creating a wall of blinding light and deafening noise. This gives you enough cover to change your position and escape the kill zone without the threat noticing. In this last scenario, you gain a tactical edge by lessening the blinding effect on your own eyes. With almost limitless options for custom programming, bluePRINT allows you to program for both situations.
Depending on your radio, Blitz can also send an automatic distress signal to dispatch. You can program this feature by connecting your radio’s emergency button output to bluePRINT.
The Equipment Lock Tactic
Having to report a stolen patrol vehicle is the ultimate embarrassment. Remember in the movie, The Hangover, when Phil and his friends return the patrol car they hijacked? Phil reminds the officers that their car was their responsibility, and prosecuting would only make them look bad. The officers decide to perform a Taser demonstration on them in front of a classroom full of kids instead. Paybacks are, well, you know… The point is that it is embarrassing, potentially very dangerous, and overall not a situation you want to be in. But it does happen. Type in, “cop car gets stolen,” on YouTube and you’ll see just how often.
To solve this problem we integrated an ignition security system, which allows you to take your keys out of the ignition while keeping the vehicle running. Once you activate the system, and you’re in the habit of immediately putting your keys in your pocket or on your duty belt, you can swiftly jump out to pursue a suspect on foot without having to worry about locking–or even shutting–the door. This keeps your patrol car ready for action, without leaving it open to the possibility of theft.
Maybe even more embarrassing, and dangerous, would be having a criminal get ahold of your weapon from inside your vehicle. BluePRINT’s equipment lock tactic solves that problem too.
Traffic Stop Tactics
You have heard it before, and likely experienced it firsthand, “there is no such thing as a routine traffic stop”. Especially at night. BluePRINT gives you a tactical advantage by illuminating the driver and passengers as much as possible, making it difficult for them to tell how many officers are with you and from which direction you’re approaching. This visual impairment is especially helpful if the occupants try to emerge from the vehicle and attack.
When you put your patrol car in park bluePRINT automatically silences your siren, lights up the front of your vehicle with a steady white burn, and changes your colored lights to a slower in-out pattern. This keeps your scene fully visible to passing traffic without distracting you as you conduct your traffic stop. And if the suspects emerge from their vehicle to rush yours, the wall of takedown lighting visually impairs them.
It is important to have all of your senses intact so you can be completely alert. When you pull someone over and step out of your patrol car, the corner module of your light bar is right at your eye level, which can weaken your night vision for up to 45 minutes, making you more vulnerable. BluePRINT automatically shuts off your corner modules when you open your car door and reactivates them after a preset duration when you shut the door.
High Speed Pursuit Tactics
One of the most dangerous situations a patrol officer can be in is the high speed chase. Real life pursuits are not like TV. Things happen in a split second and any minor distraction can take away your focus. You want to get home safely and make sure your fellow officers do too. BluePRINT provides instant access to bursts of loud siren tones and bright flash patterns designed to draw attention to yourself and keep your path clear. All you have to do is hit the horn or press and hold the horn to create attention-grabbing patterns.
Even more dangerous is when backup joins in, putting you in the lead of a multi-patrol car chase. It is easy for your brake lights to get lost when all of your warning lights are flashing red, blue, white and amber (depending on your setup). This increases your chances of a rear-end hit from the trailing officer. BluePRINT reduces this hazard by cueing up your rear-facing red warning lights when you hit the brakes, making it immediately apparent that you are slowing down. You can also easily turn off your rear-facing warning lights so you don’t blind your backup.
Not only is this feature useful during a pursuit, you’ll also enjoy it on a nightly basis while responding to emergency calls with another unit in front or behind you. Being able to avoid blinding your cover unit, or them blinding you, is just another advantage bluePRINT can provide.
bluePRINT: a New Tool for Officer Safety
These are just a few examples of how this new tool for officer safety gives you an edge in tactical defense when you’re out on patrol. The main goal of bluePRINT is to keep your head up, not down, reducing distractions on the road. We want the officer to have his hands on the wheel and eyes on the road. BluePRINT helps you to focus on the important things, like making sure you, your fellow officers, and the citizens in your community make it home safe at the end of the day.
Our dealer network is well trained in bluePRINT and can help you develop a program that fits your department’s specific needs, and creates the ultimate multi tool for officer safety. Contact your local dealer for a free consultation, and watch our promo video to see bluePRINT in action.
Be sure to follow our blog so you won’t miss Part 2 of this article, which will outline the many benefits of the system from an installation and maintenance point-of-view.