WASHINGTON – The U.S. Justice Department’s Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) has selected telematics company Fleet Management Solutions to provide its fleet with a vehicle tracking system.

Government Fleet spoke with Brian Meek, vice president, strategic accounts, about why the BOP chose a fleet tracking system. The BOP consists of 117 institutions, six regional offices, a central office, two staff training facilities, and 22 community corrections offices across the continental U.S.

The BOP operates different types of specialty law enforcement vehicles prisoner transport buses, for example) and administrative vehicles. Meek said the program will be rolled out on hundreds of BOP vehicles, though he declined to provide an exact number.

According to Meek, the primary reason for the system is added security for BOP personnel and for the prisoners being transported. The FMS system uses a two-way communication system, called Fleet Director Global, which is an Iridium-based vehicle tracking and mobile resource management system. Iridium Communications operates a network of 66 satellites. which is the satellite network that FMS' system runs on.

The system provides two-way text communications via all-satellite in-cab message terminals between drivers. A driver can also communicate an emergency situation in real-time using an in-cab “panic button,” or the message display terminal, to any text-capable device (such as a cell phone). A user can also quickly access complete data history associated with communications, according to FMS.

In addition, the FMS solution provides continuous location, direction, speed, and intelligence, including information combined with vehicle data such as engine activity, idle time, and data on stop durations.

By Greg Basich