By Rick Maranon
TULSA, Okla. —
- Oklahoma Highway Patrol cars will have brighter lights
- Additional LED lights will make it brighter when they pull drivers over at night
- Lights will add safety
- All OHP cars will have them in 2-4 years
The next time you are pulled over by a Oklahoma state trooper in the middle of the night, it could literally be an illuminating experience.
On Monday, the Oklahoma Highway Patrol gave FOX23 an exclusive look at the new light bars being installed on top of eventually all OHP cruisers in the next five years.
“The majority of troopers want these cars lit up at night,” said State Trooper Dwight Durant. “We want the majority of people to see us, identify us, and move over.”
Durant said the new light bar is ten times more powerful than the current spotlight near the driver’s side mirror, and the spotlight will now be used in conjunction with the new lights.
FOX23 asked OHP to simulate a traffic stop after sunset Monday night and saw the full effect of the new lights.
Durant said not only does the light bar fully illuminate the scene during a traffic stop, it also gives passing drivers a hint that they need to give the trooper some space if a car is stopped on the side of the road.
“It’s all about safety at the scene and around it,” Durant said.
The spotlight he told FOX23 only provides moderate light and at times has been dangerous for troopers approaching a car where someone may be hiding a weapon or drugs in the back or under a seat.
“We want to be able to see what’s going on in the car,” Durant said. “If we pull someone over, and they have to move their mirror down to get that light out of their face, then we know we’ve done something right.”
But Durant said this will also save the state agency money in the long run.
In the past, dash cam video has simply relied on where the spotlight and headlights are pointed for the only thing that tends to show up on video. This has led to OHP shipping out dash cam video needed for internal use and criminal investigations to a computer imaging professional to enhance the image to get the evidence needed.
“The room for error doesn’t exist anymore,” Durant said. “I don’t think we’ll have many, if any, more questions on tag numbers.”
Durant said the light bar upgrade could take four to five years before all troopers have the ability to fully illuminate a traffic stop scene.
“I’ve been doing this for about 20 years,” he said. “I started out with a ‘93 Caprice. This is the best vehicle and the best equipment that I’ve ever had.”