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Dodge Charger – The Woes of the Police Interface

Note: See the revised modifiers guide link at the bottom of this article

by: Staff Writer, 2008 (C) EEN

Over the past year Dodge has be on a quest to show us all they are willing to do what it takes to take on the demanding police marketplace. With many changes to the Charger, the now retirement of the Magnum and all in all a pretty decent idea of what needs to be in a police car, nothing comes without a handful of problems and growing pains.

The issues we are speaking of the illustrious and illusive Dodge police/taxi interface. Over the model years this interface has had many problems and revisions. Some issues specific only to a handful of cars and others plagued all models and all years.

The true question here is why is it so hard to get this part of a police vehicle right the first time. And by no means is Dodge alone in the world of interfaces that just seem like they were designed in the last minutes of final production.

Over the past 10 years installers the world over have asked for an interface much like what the Dodge interface is really trying to be and hopefully will one day be polished into as the years go by… but we still ask WHY? why make an interface that offers so much but truly does not give you the simple functionality you need in an easy to install package?

Is it over engineering?
Is it regulations or system limitations that the consumers are just not aware of?
Should a Police interface require another interface module just to make it work?
Should a Police interface require a park kill module to make the park kill circuit operate correctly with all the major brands of siren systems?
Should an interface require the consumer to purchase special parts to make the connections needed to use the interface?
Should all this not just be a lot simpler?

These are questions I am not sure we will ever get answers too. And by no means are we asking for answers, but we do ask that all the manufacturers truly look at the customers they serve, the installers that build their vehicles and the people that use them for those answers.

In the police install marketplace there are many different level of installer and user, there are those that are in the loop and those that are not, there are those that understand the advancing technology and there are those that could care less. By increasing the understanding of all involved we can make this niche marketplace a much more friendly place to get your vehicles, built, serviced, speced out, and eventually into the hands of the people that use them as their office on a daily basis.

Safety is paramount, ease of install is very important and end user functionality will make every fleet manager a much happier camper. We can all work to make this happen but lets get started with the small stuff first. Here are some suggestions for the future interface engineers.

  • Please build us an interface that is self contained. There is no need to attach interfaces to interfaces. With the limited space we have in these vehicles these days its a must to reduce the amount of clutter in the center console region.
  • Use standard input and output voltages. 12v in and 12v out – Its all we ask. Why require relays or additional items to make these work in the real world? Less wires, less bulk equals a much cleaner install and less potential down time.
  • Give us CAN BUS – We have to commend Dodge for this forward thinking but can we use it? Please say we can…..? One plug, one port = all options? That will be a great day. How about laptop programmability?
  • This is a question to all that read this… Do we really need 22 options in an interface. We do say thank you Dodge for thinking we need know most of what is offered but the real question lies in the real world interfacing of equipment that will actually utilize these inputs. We do fully understand the reasoning and the need for the elimination of tapping into vehicle circuits so in the big picture Dodge is right on the money offering more than less to try to eliminate the installer with a test light and a pair of wire cutters. Are we complaining, No? Can it be improved? Maybe? You be the judge and submit your opinions.

We can go on for hours about the trials an tribulations of the police vehicle offerings in the marketplace today. The real problems lie with the incredible diversity in how police vehicles are built, and the needs of the users based on the type of situations they are utilizing the vehicles for and the wear they place upon those vehicles.

Do you have an opinion? Please share it with us and we will post them or incorporate them into future articles. info@emergencyequipmentnews.com

In conclusion we offer our readers a very positive note from the Dodge Police Division. They many times have said they are very willing to work with the Police marketplace to make their vehicles the best police car it can be and all we ask is they continue to leave their door open to both criticism and praise and hopefully use it to further their police vehicle offerings.

With that we offer you the latest version of the Dodge Police Modifiers Guide – This is the update to the 2006 version with all the latest most up to date changes, including the interesting changes to the Police Interface that many have no idea occurred.

Click to download – 2.89mb .pdf

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