Used Parts Bin: Police Cars
Opinions expressed by Bill Crittenden are not official policies or positions of The Crittenden Automotive Library. You can read more about the Library's goals, mission, policies, and operations on the About Us page.
October 4, 2013
Don't Stick It To Cops
I saw a picture on Speedmonkey.co.uk's Facebook page about the interior of their police cars. Among the criticisms and questions, one naturally overlooked element was the shifter between the driver and passenger.
Of course stick shifts are more normal in Europe. But for a cop? Someone who has to not only has the basic duty of all drivers: keep his car from hitting something while driving, but also to communicate with his partner, other units in the field, and headquarters. All while controlling the lights and sirens, driving his car in potentially dangerous situations not encountered by normal road users, all while observing an incident on a level that certainly will be required to be narrated accurately and completely in a report but also possibly called into question in court.
Despite my "car guy" preference for manual transmissions, if I had that much to do already having to keep a hand on the shifter and rowing through the gears would be an enormous pain in the ass.
What's the best police car in the United States? Stealth Mode!
Have you ever seen someone do something stupid on the road and say, "where's a cop when you need one?" Well, I bet if there was a plain white Ford Crown Victoria in sight, said stupidity probably wouldn't have occurred.
Aside from the "militarization" of American police, which seems to require that our police today be equipped for the invasion of Normandy, if it were down to a police officer, ballistic vest, pistol, radar gun, ticket book, hidden LED red & blue lights, and a radio to call for backup or a bigger car to haul the drunks to County, the best police car is the car that everyone drives.
This ensures that there is no time at which you don't think that at least one other car on the road is an unmarked cop car.
If the traffic enforcement police drove a random assortment of Honda Accords, Toyota Corollas, and Ford Focuses, I bet a lot of folks would be a lot more careful a lot more often.
Dream Cop Car
When dreaming of the perfect police car, a lot of folks think of performance, like the Lamborghini-filled police fleet of Dubai.
An old saying goes, you can outrun a Ford but you can't outrun a Motorola. Forget speed. Think space.
If police are feeling a bit cramped fitting themselves with vest and equipment belt between the shield behind them forcing their seats forward and the steering wheel in front of them getting closer with each passing generation of ever-smaller cars, why not try a minivan?
Think of a specially equipped Dodge Caravan. Stow & Go seating so you can have two middle seats up or folded away, depending on the day's tasks. Plenty of room for everything in the front even with a shield between the front seats and middle section. Another shield dividing middle and back where there is tons of room for equipment. All-wheel drive is available for the snowy climates and as an added bonus, the power sliding side door to the back seats helps prevent some of the issues that can occur trying to stuff a tall person into the vehicle for their ride to the station.
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