Advanced Public Safety Blog

Is 'night mode' an officer safety issue?

Posted On Jul 17, 2014 10:49:53 AM by Jeff Weinstein

I have heard many sides to the story on Night Mode.  We have heard from customers in the past that it is absolutely an officer safety issue, while others dispute those claims.  There are really 2 issues associated with Night Mode.  Firstly, there is the issue that the screen illuminates the officer in the vehicle, and makes them a target and more vulnerable.  The second issue is around the dilation of the officer's pupils as they look at a bright computer screen at night.

Lets look at both issues, as they both are important.  With the issue of illuminating the officer in the vehicle while they are on a traffic stop, there is an increase in background light from a bright computer screen.  For the camp that believe this is not an issue, they say the difference between night mode and regular mode is not that great.  In addition, they suggest that when you blind the suspect with the powerful spotlight, the suspect is unable to distinguish anything inside or even outside of the police vehicle.

With regards to the other issue of an officer's eyes becoming adjusted to darkness, it is also true that focusing on a bright screen can cause the pupils to dilate and effect night vision.  Once again, the detractors will argue that the effects are minimal when an average road has plenty of light and the officer will often have headlights shining at them from oncoming traffic.

Currently Night Mode is not effectively implemented on an Operating System level, which means that night mode would have to be turned on for all the individual applications an officer is expected to use to perform their duties (CAD, RMS, e-Citation, GPS/Mapping, Searching other state or national repositories, etc)

There is definitely different opinions on this issue, but i think everyone will agree that an officer should have the right and capability to make their own choices.  If they feel that their life is at risk by the light given off from the screen, then they should have the ability to turn on a night mode function and those that feel it has no impact should not be forced to have night mode.

What are you thoughts?

Topics Innovation and Technology, law enforcement, Officer Safety

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Jeff Weinstein


Senior Product Manager at Advanced Public Safety. Spent the last 2 years developing an understanding of the unique challenges of the Public Safety market. Spent many years consulting with private industry to provide customized and lean solutions to often unique, but always interesting problems!