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Beetle Cop Car

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

Emergency Services Vehicles Topics:  Volkswagen Beetle

Beetle Cop Car

Gus Philpott
Woodstock Advocate
March 27, 2008

VW Beetle Police Car

I wish I could show you my "basic undercover car" all decorated with cop goodies, but the best I can do today is to show you a 1973 VW Beetle fixed up by the Blount County (Tenn.) Sheriff's Department. It won't be used in any high-speed chases yet; the top speed is only 70 MPH.

Seated in the bug is Assistant Chief Archie Garner, who came up with the idea of the "bug". Standing is Blount County Sheriff James L. Berrong. Next time I'm doing in Maryville, Tenn., I'll stop by and get my picture taken with their "bug."

The Blount County S/O will have $125,000 this summer to patrol the Dragon, an 11-mile stretch of U.S. 129 with 318 curves. I've been through there on my motorcycle, and it is a popular road for the maniacs on crotch-rockets and drivers in their sports cars. There is total disregard for safety, as riders "straighten out" many of those curves. There is also a huge danger when a tractor-trailer unit starts into the Dragon, not knowing what's ahead.

Check out http://www.tailofthedragon.com/ for some great photos.

I doubt that Blount County S/O will be using this '73 "bug" on the Dragon, but I like their use of helicopters. Or maybe they will use it ... the speed limit is, as I recall, 30MPH, and probably not too many will pass a marked police car in a no-passing zone. Or maybe they will ... Then the deputies at either end can just flag down the violators and issue greetings for a court date.

Bravo, Blount County. Take good care of that "bug." And thanks for the lightning-quick response to my request for a photo!

Photo: Courtesy of Blount County (Tenn.) Sheriff's Department

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