By Darren Smith, Weekend Contributor
Decades of progress in making cooler, faster, more race-car like patrol cars took a turn for the worse when LAPD, at the behest of (of course) the mayor and city suits, handed down a rather puny runt of a patrol car. While this car might be good for a general purpose civilian strip mall warrior, in police culture it does not cut the mustard.
The city stuck the PD with some of the city’s 160 BMW i3 electric vehicles. While I certainly applaud this for a general purpose city vehicle as I am a supporter of electric cars, but an i3 patrol car? No thank you. When first reading USA Today’s article announcing this, one of my first thoughts was that rookies better hang low for a few months.
Usually rookies are handed the older cars when they are released to patrol because, well, they tend to wreak them. The awarding of a new patrol car to a newbie is rare and consequently bestows bragging rights. But for those at the LAPD they might receive a rather pyric victory, a hand-me-down nobody wants.
We need to be realistic here. Young men and women did not go into the police profession to drive golf carts or shuttles at country clubs. They demand a hard driving machine that will dominate the roads and interstates. They also want to be taken seriously when the roll up on an incident. Most assigned to patrol will spend the largest part of their shift inside. You want a car you and the public will respect and one you will enjoy driving.
Here are some examples:
This is a patrol car, the standard issue Ford Crown Victoria Police Interceptor; commonly referred to as a Crown-Vic. It is the workhorse of the American police world. It is also tough and can take a lot of abuse. Fully equipped, it weighs around two tons.
This is Michigan’s Dodge Charger. The Charger is more like a race car than a traditional police vehicle. They have, depending on model, 325-375 horse-power V-8 Hemis. They handle beautifully yet when running through the gears on a fast course they sound just angry. They’re also Comfortable to drive and actually had decent stereos. For me this was the best patrol card made.
For those who like the size of an SUV, California did well with theirs. It is especially good when you are working in a remote area, far from the office. It too has a high level of “presence”.
But here we go with LAPD’s newest venture:
What on Earth is this nonsense?
The mayor shows that you can plug it in, just like your child’s other toys. Batteries are included.
Hard Core gangs are surely going to tremble in fear when they see Mayor Garcetti and Chief Beck roll up in this intimidator on a hot Friday night. Maybe these bangers might laugh themselves into a stupor and forget about robbing convenience stores. Maybe the chief can hang in the back window a Baby-On-Board sign and drive around the mall.
I am sure BMW was thrilled to see LAPD surprisingly adopt their product. Good for them at least. Their marketing department might awaken to potential sales in areas such as Portland, Oregon for patrolling streets crowded with Hipster coffee shops and art galleries. Speaking of which, I suspect it might on the other hand be a way to sniff out suspected Hipsters who have infiltrated police departments. Just park one of these LAPD buggies in the back lot, and see who drives off with it.
I’ll bet these two guys might fall victim to such a sting operation:
Unfortunately, the LAPD did not learn from its last unsuccessful foray into alternative police vehicles. I remember those dark days well. I hoped this would never be repeated as it was a low point in relations between the police guilds and the city. Sadly, they are going down this road once again.
By Darren Smith
Wikipedia: Photo credits of real patrol cars
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