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. I dislike the car too, law enforcement drive cars what comfortable, holds all equipment, and what can last long and take a beating. This car is not macho at all and you haft to charge it. A police interceptor, runs all day long; day shift has it then night shift. This was a political decision, not police. Its a security car, don’t worry metro will use it for a little. Then its gone…GSP had 3 BMW’s from the 96 Olympics, kept them for 3 yrs. But some people don’t understand”law enforcement.”

  2. About fuel subsidies:

    $1 billion of subsidies is the farm fuel exemption. The reasoning is that fuel taxes pay for roads, and farm equipment does not use roads. Removing that exemption will cause the price of food to rise.

    Another $1 billion is the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, which is supposed to protect us from fuel shortages.

    $570 million is for the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program, which counts as a subsidy, technically, because it lowers the price of fuel.

    This alone accounts for $2.5 billion in fuel subsidies. And yet, the same politicians who oppose ALL fuel subsidies vehemently fight Republicans who try to lower them.

    Many other items classified as “subsidies” are the same tax deductions that other corporations take. Another $1.7 billion is a manufacturer’s tax deduction that is supposed to help keep manufacturing here in the US, and is used by many other manufacturers, like Microsoft and Apple, except Apple is allowed to deduct 9% while ExxonMobile is only allowed to deduct 6%.

    Many people who talk about fuel subsidies do not really understand what they are.

  3. DBQ:

    Federal, state and local governments should be serving citizens in their voting districts which is what Los Angeles appears to be doing. Currently the federal government, which serves all of us, gives more government welfare to the fossil fuel industry than it does to the clean energy industry.

    Zero-emission cars (that don’t fund terrorism sponsors in the Middle East) may be more attractive in a heavily polluted city like Los Angeles but they can also operate in any location that receives electricity from the grid. There are new technologies emerging which will allow solar panels to charge large batteries for homes, businesses and even utility scale batteries. In small localities many businesses support their local police with free services – if that store has electricity it could very easily install a charging station about the size of a parking meter. Your local and state government has to decide if it benefits citizens in your region.

    The pump price of gasoline doesn’t include benefits for military veterans fighting oil wars in the Middle East, pollution cleanup costs, asthma, lung cancers, etc. Americans pay thise hidden costs but not in the retail pump price. A place like Los Angeles could benefit greatly by switching to zero-emission cars which would benefit their citizens.

    Companies like Tesla are also making the electrical grid more terrorism-proof using solar panels and large industrial size batteries. Many Americans bought a boatload of guns and ammo after 9/11, so shouldn’t we adopt the bunker mentality on energy also? Making energy more independent of the grid makes it harder to disrupt also.

    Nobody is forcing you to buy an electric car. Governments should be making consumers pay the real costs of fossil fuels and give clean energy industry the same amount of government welfare that fossil fuel industry receives.

  4. That is a parking enforcement or traffic accident investigation vehicle, not a patrol car. My first car was a 79 Chrysler Newport, ex-Hillsboro County, Florida sheriff car. The civvie version was 6 cylinder and weight about 3200 pounds. After the obvious police stuff had been removed except the searchlight, my 8 cylinder car was 5600 pounds. I doubt the searchlight and 2 cylinders made the difference. That thing was armored and looked like it had gone to war when I traded it a couple of years later. It was the most awesome car I’ve ever driven, and I still have the brass key ID tag that came with it. Even with black splotches covering over the sheriff decals, folks still slowed down when I drove by.

    1. “After the obvious police stuff had been removed except the searchlight, my 8 cylinder car was 5600 pounds. I doubt the searchlight and 2 cylinders made the difference. ”

      So what was the gas millage? Tell us about the acceleration. Do you think you survived more because you drive like James Bond or because god watches over drunks and children?

  5. MD:

    Oh, and we pay $0.60/gallon on gas taxes and fees, the 2nd highest in the nation. We are the highest in the nation on taxes.

    Although our roads are some of the most potholed in the US, we waste unimaginable amounts of money on pet projects. For example, we will spend $65 billion on a vacation train to SF that is projected to have low ridership and create a net negative on the environment. We also suffer from the costs of having the highest rate of illegal immigration draining our support system.

    The problem is not that we’re paying too little taxes. The problem is that our government does not take care of its core responsibilities before its pet projects.

  6. MD:

    “Dear lord, DBQ, calm down. Nobody is forcing anything down your throat. Fuel standards and consumption are calculated in aggregate – nobody is going to count the gallons you pump and then demand that you use only half.”

    Actually, what the CCC was considering was installing GPS on all vehicle and charging drivers based on miles driven. By making fuel unaffordable, they could decrease it’s use.

    Of course, can you imaging what a gallon of milk would cost if you drive up the cost of transportation that much? The poor always bear the brunt of these well meaning catastrophes.

  7. Ross:

    “DBQ: What county is that? There are probably more but you have to check the Tesla Motors map, NRG map and other companies. Also stores like Whole Foods, Trader Joes, Ikea and some shopping centers have them.”

    DBQ is correct. She and I live in completely different rural parts of CA, and there are no charging stations anywhere near me, either. I would have to drive almost 100 miles to get to one of the rapid chargers. I also wondered if the Tesla network was universal, or only works for Teslas, since it is not just an outlet but a rapid charge. It would be nice if all chargers were universal. I can tell you with certainty that the closest Trader Joe’s does not have one.

    Electric cars need electricity to fuel. Our utility company issues Flex Alerts routinely during the summer, where they request that consumers stop using power because demand exceeded supply. So I am curious how those who propose that everyone switch to electric cars believe the infrastructure could support that? Also, it’s only green and clean if the electricity is, and a lot of electricity is still produce by coal. I’ve priced out electric cars, and they are very expensive, and the battery cost is atrocious.

    I would only consider an all electric vehicle if it had a better range (so I would’t be stranded somewhere with my kid in the middle of nowhere), and if I could charge it with a solar panel. Of course, that solar panel adds $30,000 to $60,000 to the purchase price, so I do not agree that solar charged vehicles cost less over the life of the vehicle unless you already had the solar panel anyway.

    They have a very short range, still, need to charge overnight unless you can use a rapid chargers, and unless it’s a sports car, their acceleration is too slow to be appropriate for a police vehicle. I suppose it would be just fine to throw taxpayer money aside for a PR stunt, if it was just used to drive to press conferences and the like. But on a beat makes no sense.

  8. Buyers Remorse?

    “The Audi E-Tron Quattro Concept, which previews an all-electric SUV bound for Audi dealerships in 2018, will debut next month at the 2015 Frankfurt Auto Show. … The electric SUV will be Audi’s first volume EV. … The electric SUV will have a range of more than 310 miles … is expected to develop 500 horsepower and 571 pound-feet of torque. … it should be good for 0-62 mph (0-100kp/h) in 4.5 seconds … It is priced at $38,825, including a $925 destination charge.”

  9. Dear lord, DBQ, calm down. Nobody is forcing anything down your throat. Fuel standards and consumption are calculated in aggregate – nobody is going to count the gallons you pump and then demand that you use only half. FFS what is it with you secessionists that everything has to be blown to its maximum straw-man potential? Keep your service truck, Governor “moonbeam” and his thugs aren’t going to come take it for you, and nobody is claiming that any current model electric car is going to meet your rugged, personal needs.

    As for taxes for roads you will NEVER drive on, who do you think pays for the 180 miles (!) of roads you use to get to the grocery store? And how do you think they get paid for, in part? By gasoline taxes. Which are rarely raised and don’t cover the costs anymore. The post above about the true cost of gasoline use hits the nail on the head – gasoline is massively subsidized (directly or indirectly) in this country, and the lack of revenue to maintain infrastructure shows up in our dismal road and bridge ratings. The sad fact for you go-it-alone individuals who never had to rely on anybody is that we all have to live in a society and we all have to pay for that society. That means you have to contribute for a road you will NEVER drive on, just like all of your pretentious-food-eating, crappy-furniture-sitting-on, latte-sipping, e-vehicle-driving libby lib neighbors have to pay for the roads around you.

    The LA electric patrol cars are almost certainly going to be used in downtown areas and not in the greater suburban LA county area. They’re not for high-speed chases, they’re not for transporting prisoners or equipment, they’re for efficient, clean officer presence and mobility only. Like Segways or horses (though horses are kinda expensive, per officer-mile*) – they are for city-block patrols. They probably will be effective enough in the right areas, though durability and maintenance costs (maybe part of the lease agreement) will be interesting to watch. (*Source – S.O. was a police finance director for a city about the size of Fresno.)

    Maybe it will work, maybe it will fail. But at least LAPD is trying something which might help cut emissions just a bit.

    1. MD – several Southwestern cities (do not count L.A.) have officers on bikes who are very effective. They patrol the downtown areas.

  10. @ Ross

    Still not getting it.

    All of our fire stations are volunteer companies and are unmanned. The sheriff substation closed down about 5 years ago and all of the calls are routed through the “big” city 80 miles away. There is a CHP station about 40 miles away. They would have the same distance/battery issues that anyone else would have.

    There may be someone at the substation on occasion but they are also not manned. A response to a call can take as much as 45 min to several hours. (This is why we are all armed, thank you very much)

    We don’t HAVE any government facilities in our area unless you want to count the Con Camp or US Forest Service and a couple of Post Offices with boxes. We don’t even have mail delivery in most places. They don’t have any need for electrical charging either since they are in the same outlying area and don’t use short range electrical cars. In addition they all need 4 x 4 vehicles to get around in the winter snow and ice…as do we all.

    There are three schools that service an area of at least 50 miles by 50 miles…that is 2500sq miles of rural winding roads. The kids spend hours on buses a day and the schools have better things to do than to spend their/our money on a charging station for that one or two electric cars that may be in the area.

    The County doesn’t have any money for foolishness like this. The County just recently condemned a vital bridge in our area that was supposed to be repaired in 2015. The bridge will be closed for at least 3 years for lack of funds and people have to drive additional 30 to 40 miles around a detour to cross on another bridge that hasn’t been condemned ….yet. The emergency services, volunteer fire dept, sheriff etc will need an additional half hour to just go around the condemned bridge.

    The last thing we need is a charging station for stupid electric vehicles. In fact….IF they did put in charging stations before fixing the bridges we would likely have a public lynching.

    There is also a good chance Tesla would install one in your county if you requested it.

    Big whoop. It would be out of reach of the majority of the geographic area of the County and basically useless.

    So….while some technology is feasible and reasonable in some areas, urban and densely populated, it is MORONIC to assume that it would work everywhere and asinine to insist that we force this technology on areas where it is not feasible and then punish us with fees and taxes to support the technology elsewhere.

    Keep your electric cars where they work and let the rest of us chose what works for us. I chose to live here and am able to deal with the inconveniences. We don’t want to be forced to drive substandard, unworkable vehicles to satisfy someone’s ideological wet dream.

  11. DBQ:

    This article is about local municipal governments adding all-electric cars to their police department. Any local government in any county can inexpensively “invest” in high voltage charging stations for their government vehicles and will save taxpayers money in the longterm.

    Any government facility with access to the electrical grid can easily be converted into a charging station – unless you live in a place like Alaska and don’t have access to the grid for electricity. Any place that has a regular 110 volt outlet can be made into a charging station.

    In counties like yours there are usually fire stations, rescue squads, schools and police stations strategically located in most counties so even rural areas can do it. There is also a good chance Tesla would install one in your county if you requested it.

    1. ” Any local government in any county can inexpensively “invest” in high voltage charging stations for their government vehicles and will save taxpayers money in the longterm. ”

      The i3 has somewhat less than nominal 100 mile range with a 30 minute recharge for 80% power. The range in actual practice with LE loads and speeds in California temperature conditions remain a matter of conjecture.

      All electric vehicles leave the possibility that some units on patrol will have unavoidable downtime for recharging, or worse run low on energy during an emergency.

      That possibility could be eliminated, while maintaining much of the advantage by using hybrid vehicles.

      All electric vehicles with current technology seem to be a questionable choice for emergency responders of any type.

  12. Ross

    You just refuse to get it, don’t you. I checked the Tesla motors map and there are zero, nada NO charging stations according to them in my county. Yeah. I want to hang out at a car dealership to charge my car for a hour or to add to my already 3 hour driving time to go shopping. That would be fun. I could swap car stories with the sales people. They would love it too (sarcasm)

    You cannot assume that everyplace is like the cities and that the rules and regulations promoted for the cities have any effect or positive benefits to other locations. There are three municipal governments in this county all in the same general area over 80 to 100 miles away.

    I’m not complaining about this, because I choose to live in a rural UNincorprated area and know that the government or municipal services etc will be limited or not existing at all. We like it this way. This is the price we expect to pay for living in the country. My objection is being penalized by rules and regulations that treat us as if we all live in the urban areas and rules that are not even remotely enforceable because the technology that “they” want us to live by does not exist or is not practical. And I don’t even live in Montana. I live in California. In the mountains. In the State of Jefferson 😉 Trying to force electrical vehicles down our throats……isn’t going to happen.

    There is NO Ikea store in my county. The closest one in Calif is over 200 miles away. Good because their stuff is crap and ugly to boot.

    No Whole Foods in my county……ditto…..closest is over 240 miles.Overpriced pretentious food.

    There IS a Trader Joe’s in the county seat, again about 80 miles away. The only TJs in our county I might add. I shop there often. Love the place. Their house Scotch is really good for the price and they have some killer cookies. Eggs are only $2.99 a dozen. A deal when they are $6.99 a dozen at our local small grocery. Trader Joe’s doesn’t have a charging station at that location.

    You can even use a standard 110 volt AC plug found in every home and every business, although the higher voltage chargers are faster. An electrician can easily install a higher voltage receptacle

    So what? That isn’t the issue. I can charge up at home. How the H*ll to do you expect us to get back home on and electrical charge? Especially in the winter.

    I don’t know where YOU live Ross. Have you ever been OUT of the area and have seen how big the United States really is?

    If I had a Volt, unless they have drastically improved it since this article, I would only be able to go about 40 miles before battery reaches 30% capacity ( using …70% of the battery charge (roughly equivalent to 40 miles according to GM) About 50% of my one way trip. THEN I would switch to gasoline or sit on the side of the road…….without cell reception I might add because of the mountains and canyons. Since there is almost NO place to recharge my battery I would be using gasoline for the return trip as well………

    Tell me. What is the point or the advantage to an electric or hybrid vehicle if I 1. have no access to charging stations and 2. would be using gasoline anyway.

    There needs to be substantial increases in battery live, accessibility to charging and other technological improvements before the government can ram this POS down our throats.

    You go ahead and drive yourself to Ikea for your tinker toy furniture and Whole Foods. I’m happy it works for you. Just keep out of our lives. Thanks much 🙂

  13. I agree with that. That is a good point but not on point.

    Yes, I do realize that Mike, although the issues are tangentally related.

  14. DBQ: What county is that? There are probably more but you have to check the Tesla Motors map, NRG map and other companies. Also stores like Whole Foods, Trader Joes, Ikea and some shopping centers have them.

    The best way to check is to call the car dealerships that make all-electric models. In addition to Tesla and Nissan, almost every car manufacturer now has an all-electric model.

    Municipal governments usually create their own charging network which is relatively inexpensive to do for even a small town. You can even use a standard 110 volt AC plug found in every home and every business, although the higher voltage chargers are faster. An electrician can easily install a higher voltage recepticle.

    The Union of Concerned Scientists recently determined if the real costs of gasoline were included in the free market price at the pump, gasoline would really cost at least $10 per gallon. Fossil fuels also receive more government welfare than clean energy which further distorts the free market price.

    That’s called real fiscal conservatism!

  15. Perhaps the battle wagons pictured below will assuage the battered and fragile egos of the LAPD’s “warriors”.

    News flash for police “warriors” it is not the vehicle that makes an officer rather it is how an officer treats the citizens encountered that makes/breaks the department.

    The US is not a battlefield and American citizens are not enemy combatants.

    US police departments have zero need for armored personnel carriers.

    If you want to play soldier join the army.

    1. “US police departments have zero need for armored personnel carriers. ”

      I agree with that. That is a good point but not on point.

      A patrol or scout car is the officers office. It needs to have the capacity to carry all his equipment including all the stuff in the trunk that most people rarely see, provide some reasonable comfort for long shifts and still have the range to work all shift plus a reserve for unexpected situations that require extra time.

      US county sizes range for greater than 20,000 square miles to fewer than 12. Just driving across some counties would be a challenge for the i3.

      The size and range of the i3 should raise reasonable questions regarding capacity for equipment and range.

  16. Oh wait. I have to correct myself. There are THREE public stations in my County. One at a Nissan car dealership. One at a private school. And the last one at a Best Western where you have to be a guest to use the charger.

    How fabulously convenient.

    Again. Rules made by people who live in cities and who have ZERO idea of how anyone outside of their urban bubble actually lives…..furthermore…..they don’t care.

Comments are closed.