Mayor Shames LAPD With Wimpy Patrol Car

By Darren Smith, Weekend Contributor

Lapd_badgeDecades 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


USA Today
Wikipedia: Photo credits of real patrol cars

The views expressed in this posting are the author’s alone and not those of the blog, the host, or other weekend bloggers. As an open forum, weekend bloggers post independently without pre-approval or review. Content and any displays or art are solely their decision and responsibility.

65 thoughts on “Mayor Shames LAPD With Wimpy Patrol Car”

  1. This has happened almost overnight but there is now a national network of charging stations that can net an 80% recharge in about 20-30 minutes. Any electric car can travel nationwide coast-to-coast along major interstates.

    Ross. You starry eyed naive kid.

    I went on line and checked there are TWO PUBLIC charging station in my entire County. TWO! both of which are about 80 miles from my house and are not anywhere near the major interstate that runs through the county from north to south.

    We are talking and area of 3847 square miles. The other county which we often drive through to get to Oregon is 4720 square miles and there are ZERO charging stations available. Unless you expect us to sneak into someone’s driveway for several hours while cooling our heels under their trees waiting for these cars to charge…….?

    Like I said. Electric cars have their place, and it AIN’T here. To have the government punish us with fees, taxes and other ” inducements” in a one sized fits all ideological frenzy is patently NOT going to work. H3ll will freeze over before electric cars are the thing in many areas of the United States.

    As I said. IF I still lived there, being San Francisco and I haven’t for over 35 years…… I might consider something like that for those short hops to the grocery store to pick up a SMALL bag of groceries (because that is all you can fit into the shoebox you are riding in)…. or see the dentist. Drive your clown car in the city. Stay on the interstate and miss the world. Leave the rest of us alone.

  2. Issac,
    That sounds interesting about biomass fuel. I shall have to look into it.

    Similar to using used French fry oil, but hopefully better, I presume. It will be an interesting research topic in any case.

    Thanks for sharing the links.

  3. DBQ:

    This has happened almost overnight but there is now a national network of charging stations that can net an 80% recharge in about 20-30 minutes. Any electric car can travel nationwide coast-to-coast along major interstates. Many grocery stores, retail stores, shopping malls, etc. offer “free” charging while you shop. Even if the sticker price is slightly higher (ex: Nissan Leaf – European police cars) it’s actually cheaper when you factor in fuel costs over it’s lifetime.

    Some auto manufacturers have also experimented with a solar roof to help recharge cars while driving or in a parking lot.

  4. Electric cars can go as fast as gasoline cars and have far lower fueling costs over the life of the vehicle, that savings could be used to hire more police officers making citizens safer. All-electric Teslas and BMWs are cheaper over the life of the car especially when using solar chargers.

    If there is one city that should adopt zero emission cars it is Los Angeles, that move alone might save more lives than normal police work by preventing lung cancers, childhood asthma, etc. Some Asian and European cities have been using all-electric police cars for years.

  5. I keep thinking about that scene in Back To the Future. What was that onboard biofuel generator on the Delorean called? Mr Fuel?

  6. Paul:

    “I know that Oregon is complaining about it and Arizona is complaining about it, but you Californians need to stay in California. We have our own problems.”

    Ah, you’re just saying that because we’re a crazy Liberal wonderland. Don’t worry – none of us can afford the gas for road trips anymore, especially since Gov Moonbeam has declared he will regulate away 50% of our gas usage.

  7. The last I heard, biofuel was wrecking engines. As I’ve said before, there have been exciting advances in fuel and energy technology, but we are still in the beta stage. Unfortunately, many local governments jumped on the ethanol bandwagon in the beta stage, and wrecked their fleets.

    The EPA recently admitted that ethanol damages engines:

    And here is the irony that the EPA and CA Air Resources Board mandated reduced emissions that created new diesel engines that are incompatible with B100 biofuel. Such fuel will actually damage the engine:

    I am quite interested in energy advances, and my dream is to one day go solar. I love the idea of clean energy independence. But I also am aware of the many pitfalls we still have to overcome, which is why I react negatively when anyone, such as a CA politician, says, “Let’s just outlaw fossil fuels. It will all work out somehow!”

    I’ve remarked before that, as predicted, people are now chopping down trees to heat their homes because energy costs keep increasing. The sale of outdoor wood boilers, pellet stoves, and other similar heating elements is on the rise. And one of my dearest causes is to reverse the de-vegetation of our planet. Our photosynthetic biomass cleans our air, stores water, releases moisture, affects climate, removes carbon, and produces oxygen. And we’re paving it all over.

  8. Prairie Rose

    The ethanol would be what wasn’t kept for the corn liquor business. Neil Young advocates biomass fuel from waste. Cellulosic fuel has 86% reduction of carbon emissions. It takes nothing away from the food supply. It is made from waste and scrub wood like pine that can be harvested in an environmentally safe manner. If everyone started smoking a lot of weed there would be a tremendous spin off in material for Cellulosic fuel.

  9. Is the fact that they are two door a safety concern for the officers? Will the safety glass/mesh be installed as effectively?

  10. Isaac,
    Corn ethanol is actually not very cost effective in terms of energy expenditure. It costs more in energy to make it than it saves, unfortunately, last I read up on it. The corn lobby is just very strong.

    Switchgrass, I hear, has a better trade-off, but does not have the lobbying power to get governments to switch over (no pun intended).

  11. From the picture, the car looks like a two door, not a four door.

    Is that the case or is the rear outside handle just difficult to see?

  12. DBQ

    California has always been on the cutting edge of social responsibility. With that comes many proposals and much debate before laws are implemented. Thus no one has forced anything down anyone’s throat yet, and probably won’t. When I came down to go to school in 1987 I brought a brand new Honda Accord, made in Canada. When I went to register it in California a few years later I found out that it would not meet CA’s emissions regulations without $2,000 of work being done. The car would have passed in just about every other province and state, but not California. In the end, as much as I was put out, I agreed that it was a good thing.

    All of the proposals you are mentioning are a natural side effect of the changes in technology. However, the extra costs should never impede technological advancement. The power companies are holding up the advancement of alternative energy at the point of usage in the form of solar by refusing to buy back excess energy. Their point is that the fewer people buying coal produced electricity means the higher costs to others. Perhaps they should be investing in developing thermal solar plants and creating a market for themselves instead of simply trying to keep the buggy whip factory in business.

    To make things better there will always be transitions that profit some and not others. Start growing corn, make corn liquor, sell it and use some in your vehicles.

  13. DBQ – so true.

    Our taxes paid for these roads and bridges, and now politicians think it’s somehow unfair if we use them? Anyone who buys a carton of milk utilizes the roads as their items were trucked in, and then they drove to the store to get it.

    Politicians should stop squandering our money on programs that are not their core responsibility, like infrastructure. That’s how we get bike helmets given away for free, and the worst potholed roads in the nation.


    As DBQ pointed out, oh, how wrong you are. You display that common, innate trust in government, that they wouldn’t possibly shove something down our throats that we don’t want. That bill DBQ referenced passed the State Senate, but just recently died in the Assembly because people were going crazy over it. It would have made the infamous California Coastal Commission responsible for reducing our gas usage by 50%, with completely free reign. They could add a huge fee, ration, demand doubled fuel economy (which is a de facto requirement to buy an electric car). And none of this would have required a vote by Californians.

    Gov Brown has declared that he will still get a 50% reduction through regulation, regardless of what citizens want.

    You know what’s worse than using gas? Everyone losing their jobs and milk costing $50 a carton. If they make us less able to drive, we will revert to a provincial society. There are a lot of unintended consequences, and a projected net negative for the environment, if they try to cut gas by force instead of simply working on better fuel economy and lowering the price of alternative energy through economy and efficiency. Then, people would use less gas all on their own.

    You know, we managed to make the organic food and product industry a booming business, all on our own, without government. Simple supply and demand, as well as disseminating information on the health benefits.

    1. Karen – I know that Oregon is complaining about it and Arizona is complaining about it, but you Californians need to stay in California. We have our own problems.

  14. bettykath said:
    “These cars should help reduce the number of dangerous high speed chases that LA is known for.”

    That’s exactly right.

    And those cars will also help to show how the Los Angeles Police Department is on the very cutting edge of a debauched political system.

    Police lives matter too.

  15. I don’t think anybody is pushing anything down anyone’s throat.

    Jerry Brown is/was proposing to make everyone cut their gasoline usage by 50% at some date in the future in order to force/encourage people to use electric vehicles. Cut or else. Actually, how do they know how much gas I use anyway?

    Also proposed was/is a $65 per vehicle fee to cover the reduced gasoline taxes collected by more people using electric vehicles and not using enough gasoline to fix the potholes on the LA freeways. PER VEHICLE. Scuse me. I can only drive ONE car at a time. Why should I pay a fee for a vehicle that 1.) doesn’t travel more than a few thousand miles at most a year and 2) to repair roads on which I will NEVER EVER drive? Of course exempt from this fee would be the fleets of vehicles owned by the state and large corporations. Ma and Pa Fricket will get slammed with a fee for each one of the pitiful clunkers that they can manage to cling to. Small business and agriculture takes on the chin again.

    I would hope that you can see the contradiction in these two brilliant ideas? Cut gas use or else…..charge us more for not buying gas. California is schizophrenic.

    The other brain fart is to charge people for the miles they drive. Again to compensate for less gas usage/tax revenues. This proposal would be unfair to those who live in rural areas, like Karen S and I do. Unfair to those who have to commute for work or drive for their businesses.

    They are always pushing the latest crackpot idea or their personal ideologies down our throats.

    The rules are made by people who live in the cities and for people who live in the cities without any regard to the different demographics or geographic differences in such a huge and diverse state as California. It is even worse with the top down, one size fits all brilliant ideas from the Federal Government.

  16. DBQ

    Well we sort of agree. I don’t think anybody is pushing anything down anyone’s throat. The reduction of gas run cars by introducing new technology can only be a good thing. I doubt that anyone will be limited from buying what they need.

    My main point is that there are many areas where electric, hydrogen, and other advancing technologies would do well. Last time I visited Victoria, BC almost every taxi was a Prius. With gas twice the cost as in the US, this was the solution, less gas consumed, better for the environment, two to three passengers in comfort, and the cost of a taxi remains lower.

    There are many examples that could be made reality but it doesn’t happen with the oligarchy which is the fossil fuel industry. That is why we need government to help give it a push. The advancement of technology does not mean the lack of addressing the needs of the individual.

    Google Neil Young’s Lincoln project

  17. Who are they going to catch in such a vehicle, people with walkers?


    I’ll see your explanation of why electric cars won’t work in locations such as ours, and I’ll raise you that the utility infrastructure cannot handle the load of more electric cars. We already receive multiple Flex Alerts every summer asking us to turn off our power and unplug everything. The only way it would work, even for limited driving, is if you had a solar panel so you were not drawing off the grid.

    And you are exactly right that when government interferes with supply and demand, it just makes a mess. People for whom electric vehicles will work and can afford them, will buy them.


    That would only be true if everyone had slow electric cars with no power. Since our utilities grid would literally collapse if that many people drove electric, and it cannot handle our current demand as it is, then this is unlikely. The obviously predictable outcome is that a cop would try to pull someone over, the driver would say no and leave, and pretty much we would all descend into anarchy.

  18. These cars should help reduce the number of dangerous high speed chases that LA is known for.

    And greatly reduce the number of people being arrested, since anyone on a Honda 90 or better can outrun these POS cars. Win win for the bad guys. nya nya nah….can’t catch me! 😀

  19. These cars should help reduce the number of dangerous high speed chases that LA is known for.

Comments are closed.