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Tesla is in talks with police department to use Sentry Mode for policing needs

A police department in Connecticut bought a Tesla Model 3 and disclosed that they are “in direct conversations with Tesla” to use Sentry Mode for policing needs in Tesla police patrol cars.

Earlier this week, the Westport police department announced that they bought a Tesla Model 3 that they are currently upgrading to use as a police patrol vehicle next month.

They wrote in a press release:

“The Town of Westport is pleased to announce the newest addition to its Police Department fleet – the fully electric 2020 Tesla Model 3. The 310 mile range electric vehicle has been delivered, and is currently in the process of being outfitted with all the necessary police equipment – including emergency lights and siren, networked computer, a weapon rack and tires capable of sustained speeds of over 100mph. The Police Department is working in partnership with Whelen Engineering Company who will be supplying all the emergency equipment and Fleet Auto Supply who will be outfitting and installing all the equipment to get the vehicles fully operational by the last week of January 2020.”

Westport Police Chief Foti Koskinas said that he decided to buy the electric because he “believes in being green”, but he also mentioned being impressed by “the superior performance, 5-star crash ratings, and industry-leading collision avoidance technology available in the Model 3 compared to the Town’s typical squad cars.”

Another reason why they are interested in the Tesla Model 3 is Sentry Mode.

Tesla’s Sentry Mode is an integrated surveillance system inside Tesla’s vehicles using the Autopilot cameras around the car.

The Westport police department said that Koskinas is “in direct conversations with Tesla” about using the feature:

“Every Tesla comes straight from the factory with many features installed in the car – like its front, side, and rear-view cameras – that a police department would typically need to install at extra cost. These cameras can also be used in “Sentry mode” to monitor the vehicle and vicinity when the vehicle is parked. Chief Koskinas is in direct conversations with Tesla to work on potential ways to leverage the car’s existing systems to better meet the needs of a police force.”

Sentry Mode has previously helped police with video evidence to help them identify and find vandals, but it would be the first time that a police department would use Sentry Mode directly.

The Westport police department said that while the Model 3 is a little more expensive than the usual Ford Explorer they would buy, they expect some significant fuel and maintenance savings.

They say that an internal combustion engine squad car typically requires approximately $11,000 in maintenance over 3 years.

Also. they expect $13,770 in fuel savings just in the first 3 years with the Model 3.

As for range and performance, the department says it won’t be an issue. They bought a Model 3 Performance and with 310 miles of range and 0-60 mph acceleration in 3.2 seconds, it has twice the range of a patrol car’s daily mileage and it is quicker than any other vehicle in their fleet.

At this point, there are about a dozen police departments going electric with Tesla vehicles.

Earlier this year, the Bargersville, Indiana, Police Department started updating its fleet to Tesla Model 3 vehicles after they ran the numbers and they found out it would be much less expensive to drive electric.

In order for Sentry Mode to work on a Tesla, you need a few accessories. We recommend Jeda’s Model 3 USB hub to be able to still use the other plugs and hide your Sentry Mode drive. For the drive, I’m now using a Samsung portable SSD, which you need to format, but it gives you a ton of capacity, and it can be easily hidden in the Jeda hub.

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