Have you ever been cruising down the interstate and seen a police cruiser parked in the median, trying its best to ensure everyone is driving safely and properly? One day there may be a sedan parked there, while another day there may be an SUV. Both police vehicles but different types of police cars or vehicles. Do you ask yourself, why are they different? What other types of vehicles do police have issued?
10 Types of Police Cars / Vehicles
There are several current types of police vehicles currently on the market today. These include:
- Patrol Cars / Squad Cars
- SUVs and Pickup trucks
- K9 units (Sport utility vehicles or pickups)
- Pursuit cars
- Unmarked cars
- Highway patrol vehicles
- Riot control
- Multi-purpose vehicles
- Community liaison vehicles
- Surveillance vehicles
Albeit these are not every type of police car or vehicle, they are considered the most popular choices amongst police departments. This has you interested, right? Well, let’s keep reading on and learn even more about these types of police vehicles.
How Are Police Cars/ Vehicles Different from Other Cars/ Vehicles?
What makes police cars or vehicles different from other cars you may ask? Is there something different about the manufacturing process that gives them an edge over civilian vehicles? If these are questions you are asking, like us, then we have you covered.
Police cars come equipped with a multitude of enhancements to benefit not only the police officer but the civilians around them. From audible and visual warnings to collision resistance, police vehicles are known to be faster, more durable, and equipped to perform the duties of a police vehicle.
With so much packed into each vehicle, police officers can be ensured that their vehicles will not only always perform for them, but may continue even if certain functions become unavailable for them. Read on to take a look at more detailed specs of the general police vehicle.
What Are the Different Features That Make Police Cars/ Vehicles Different?
As stated previously, police vehicles are equipped with so many different abilities, functions, and equipment to ensure the safety of the operator and civilians around them. Here are some of the key features of a police vehicle:
Mechanical upgrades to the engine, suspension, heating and cooling, and electrical systems are the most common upgrade package provided for police vehicles.
Silent mode is designed to help police vehicles become harder to detect at night. When stationary, this feature turns all lights and markers off, making it harder for them to be detected.
Some police vehicles are modified to withstand high-velocity rear-crash impacts. Ford boasts a 75 mile-per-hour crash collision rating. A collision that would be sure to be fatal in any other vehicle.
The doors of a police vehicle can be fitted to withstand armor-piercing rounds. It is said that it can then stop rounds from an AK-74.
Specialty brakes and brake pads for greater wear-and-tear and high-speed chases.
Built-in steel intrusion plates are mounted into the seatbacks of the front seats to protect the officers from behind also.
StarChase is a system used recently by some agencies. This allows a laser to target a vehicle during a high-speed pursuit. This system then shoots a small device that provides GPS tracking on the target vehicle, allowing for safer conditions during the pursuit.
Some models are equipped with Rear Cross Path Detection (RCPD) which, when stationary, can alert officers of movement around the sides and/ or rear of their vehicle.
Lastly, for comfort, front seats are designed specifically with officer’s utility belts in mind. With some officers carrying firearms, flashlights, handcuffs, batons, and more, their seats are equipped to provide an easier and more comfortable seat.
Are Police Cars/ Vehicles Tuned by the Manufacturer?
Police vehicles weren’t always considered the best out there. In the early days of police vehicles being introduced, they were ordinary vehicles. They were generally not thought to be any faster or stronger than any other vehicle on the market then. Now, with such high demand for faster vehicles for civilian life, police departments everywhere are forced to step up their game to maintain their superiority over the other vehicles on the road.
Most vehicles designated to become police vehicles are not enhanced or street-ready when leaving the manufacturer’s factory. These enhancements and added features are the responsibility of the police department to purchase the vehicles. Any extras outside of the mechanical improvements are up to the departments to install.
So, now we know how they leave the factory and who is responsible for the full enhancement. Let’s continue to find out more about how the process works and who takes care of the added features.
Where Do Police Cars/ Vehicles Get Upgraded and Serviced?
So, depending on the size of the local area and police department generally dictates whether they use an in-house garage or local shop to perform all work completed.
If the police department is a part of a smaller city, town, or community, then they are likely to be using one or more of the local garages in business. These businesses will likely prioritize these vehicles above others.
In bigger areas, such as large cities, where the police presence is heavier, they may have garages with government employees to tune and maintain all services provided to police fleets. This depends largely on the departments or agencies and what their funding looks like.
In the case that there is a defect, recall, or otherwise warranty-covered issue, police, sheriff, and local government agencies will likely take their vehicles back to the dealership in which it was purchased for service.
How do Police Cars/ Vehicles Stand Out from Other Cars/ Vehicles?
We all know the generic “black and white” scheme used to create high visibility for police vehicles. This has been employed by law enforcement since the 1920s and has successfully continued to evolve and adapt to the growing needs of those around them. What makes a police vehicle stand out and be easily recognizable?
In the 1920s, law enforcement agencies adopted a color scheme method to provide an easy way to identify someone from law enforcement. This is still used today and is commonly referred to as “black and white.” Although many departments use varying color schemes, the general idea remains the same.
While not being the only way police vehicles stand out, the color scheme is the most obvious and easiest method of spotting a police vehicle. Are there other ways these vehicles stand out? Let’s take a look.
What Features Make a Police Car / Vehicle Stand Out?
So, we’ve gone over the overall color scheme briefly, but what about the other features that make their vehicles stand out in a crowd? We can take a look at some of these features here:
- Color Scheme – we touched on the black and white scheme but we want to give a more detailed picture. The color scheme is to be easily recognizable by everyone around them. This is mostly a safety feature but also allows them to identify from other police officers on duty.
- Visual Warning Systems – A visual warning system will consist of flashing lights, hazard lights, flares, cones, etc. These lights could be on top of, inside the front and back windshields, or be a part of the front and back lighting systems. (Headlights and taillights) these are used for the safety of everyone around the officer and are used during traffic stops, pursuits, emergencies, traffic control, and much more.
- Audible Warning Systems – Just like the visual warnings these audible warning systems are used to make their presence known. Whether it be for getting through traffic to make it to an emergency call or warn someone that they are being stopped by the officer, audible warnings are like a key and lock with visual warning systems and a multitude of police situations.
- Aftermarket installs – Not all police vehicles have added extras to help ensure safety. However, seeing a bull bar on the bumper might help you visually determine that it is a police vehicle. Most come equipped with a bull bar to aid in their pursuits and overall safety.
What Are the Different Companies That Produce Cop Cars/ Vehicles?
Have you ever wondered which manufacturers produce the police vehicles that you see out in the world today? If so, then you have likely paid a bit of attention to which makes and models you have seen being used for police work at some point. To better clarify, here are the top companies currently making cars and vehicles for police use.
Police cars/ vehicles are made relatively stock, with only the mechanical systems tuned up by the manufacturers. However, these vehicles are generally manufactured by the following car manufacturers:
- General Motors (GM)
Each car manufacturer has its take on a police vehicle and many different models of each brand are used to represent the police force. Read on to discover some of the most used makes and models across the US.
What Are the Most Common Makes and Models of Police Cars/ Vehicles?
With several companies making reliable and safe police vehicles it’s no wonder that there would be so many to choose from. However, we put together a small list for you of the top 4 police vehicles currently on the market:
- Dodge Durango Police – This is a special service vehicle with some impressive specs. With an 8-speed automatic transmission, a 5.7L HEMI® V8 Engine, AWD, and a 7,400 lbs. towing capacity, this vehicle is made to do it all.
- Chevrolet Tahoe Police Pursuit Vehicle – a PPV or Police Pursuit Vehicle, this model has a rather extensive set of performance-enhanced specs to go along with its durable build. It has a 10-speed automatic transmission, 5.3L V8 Engine (355 hp/383 lb.-ft. of torque), 4 wheel drive (4WD), and 6,000 lbs. towing load capacity. This vehicle’s interior is also very spacious with 120.7 cubic feet of interior volume as well as 112.1 cubic feet of cargo space to tackle all of your needs.
- Dodge Charger Pursuit – Dodge Chargers are naturally made for top speed and acceleration, so being a pursuit vehicle is a no-brainer. Stock it comes with a 3.6L Pentastar® V6 Engine, 292 horsepower, and has an upgradable option of a 5.7L HEMI® V8 with 370 horsepower. This vehicle also has bullet-resistant front door panels for added protection.
- Ford Police Interceptor Utility – Ford is notorious for being one of the oldest and greatest car manufacturers to be producing police vehicles. This particular hybrid model comes with a 3.3L Engine, has AWD, and is made specifically with the safety of each officer in mind. This is the only model in the world that has successfully been rated for a 75-MPH rear crash test and bolsters their SPACE (Side Protection And Cabin Enhancement) architecture. Safety is their number one goal.
Why Are Police Cars/ Vehicles Made Different Than Other Cars/ Vehicles?
This is a pretty self-explanatory question; however, most people may not know the answer to it nonetheless. Police vehicles weren’t always so different from the other vehicles we use daily. With the demand for faster cars for civilian use, comes the demand for the same with law enforcement. But why, do you ask? Here’s why.
With faster cars being produced and sold to the general public, law enforcement has had to step up their game in recent years to maintain a superior presence within the community and ensure the safety of the populace as well as their fellow officers.
It isn’t just law enforcement who have stepped up their game either. Government agencies in America such as the FBI, Homeland Security, and even the Secret Service have all taken the safety and endurance of their employees, vehicles, and gear to a whole new level.
Why would Police Cars/ Vehicles Need to Be Enhanced Past Stock Options?
Police vehicles are enhanced for many reasons. These reasons vary depending on location but do all follow the same precedence. As stated previously, it is up to each department to upgrade and enhance the vehicle’s performance and capabilities. This allows for each department to personally provide what they need for each of their vehicles.
Why do police vehicles need to be enhanced and capable of more? Well, for starters, police vehicles are usually run a lot harder than we would operate our vehicles. The wear and tear on a police vehicle are significantly more than ours so they need to be capable of performing for long periods.
With the growing demand for faster cars for general use, police must continuously maintain their top performance to continue to provide the safety and law-abiding practices they are sworn to.
Final Thoughts – Types of Police Cars
When you think about it, doesn’t it all make sense? Police vehicles are intended to be top-of-the-line vehicles that provide safety to the operator, civilians around them, and have an overall safe and intensive presence throughout the community. They are pillars of what they are sworn to do and must maintain that image at all times.
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