are becoming ever more dangerous to our wallets – and all-too-often,
our persons. Since we can’t properly defend ourselves against
their depredations, avoidance is therefore becoming all
the more important. If you see them before they see you,
you stand a good chance of not having to interact with them at all.
cops have become harder to spot. Because they no longer restrict
themselves to the stereotypical cop car – the Ford Crown Vic.
These are no longer being produced – and so are being replaced
by cars that blend into the background better than the big Ford.
Cops are also driving more unmarked cars – and even
marked cars are harder to pick out before it’s too late because
of their low-profile light bars and paint schemes designed specifically
to make them less obviously cop cars.
But, not all
the news is bad news.
cars out there are not cop cars – and many of them you can
write off with near 100 percent certainty as not being occupied
by someone out to Harass & Collect:
are rarely cop cars
In the past,
cops have used two-door cars for traffic work – in particular,
as “pursuit” cars. Examples include the 1980s-era Ford
Mustang LX and (more recently) the 1994-2002 Chevy Camaro. However,
these models have been out of service for years – decades,
in the case of the old 5.0 LX Mustang. While it’s possible
some departments may be using newer models such as the Pontiac GTO
(there was at least one of these running around SW Virginia circa
2008) it is very unlikely.
are almost never cop cars
enforcement is overwhelmingly “buy American” minded.
There have been exceptions here and there (at one time, the Falls
Church, VA cops were using Volvos) but the rule is – cops
cars are American cars. Part of this is patriotic glad-handing
(it looks bad when American cops are driving “foreign”
cars); part of it is practical politicking (government fleet buyers
incline toward the home team brands for the favor-currying it involves)
and part of it is due to the fact that – for the most part
– the import car companies do not make cars suitable for cop
duty. Historically, cops have preferred large, RWD-based vehicles
– models like the Ford Crown Victoria. That’s still
mostly true today.
luxury/performance cars are never cops cars
Maybe on Miami
Vice – but even then, Sonny’s Ferrari was not used
for traffic enforcement. Out in the real world, cops may use luxury
vehicles seized via asset forfeiture proceedings – but for
undercover and other purposes, not for issuing pieces of payin’
paper. The guy in the M5 sitting next to you at the red light, revving
his engine, is looking to race – not write you up.
older than 10 years are virtually never cop cars
say never, because there are probably some rural departments that
hang onto their cruisers that long – or even longer. (There
was – and still may be – a company that refurbishes
worn-out Chevy Impalas – the older, full-size/RWD ones that
look like Shamu the Whale – and the more recent Ford Crown
Vic.) But – as a general rule – most cop cars get retired
long before they reach double-digit age. Many are run almost continuously,
seven days a week, year round. It is not unusual for a cop car to
see 100,000 miles in less than three years. Which is why it’s
unusual to find one still in service after ten. For the most part,
you can breathe easy if it’s older – even if it’s
a model (like the Vic) that is popular with cops.
the rest of the article
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Atrocities and Road Hogs (2011). Visit his
© 2013 Eric Peters
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