Ask a Cop – June 2010

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Dear Cop,
The other day, I saw a Highway patrolman getting into his brand new all-black Dodge Charger, complete with tint and rims. I thought to myself, “Why would a cop car ever need rims?” but then I thought about a much bigger issue. Why do we even have cops driving around in Dodge Chargers in the first place? I looked up the value of a 2010 Dodge Charger on and found out that a stock Charger can start at 30k brand new.  But when a car is purchased for the purpose of being a police vehicle, it is gutted and numerous additions are put into the vehicles––super chargers, interior upgrades (computers, radios, etc.) and suspension upgrades. These vehicles get 17 mpg in the city and 23 on the highway. They don’t need these hot rods for high-speed chases––if you double the speed limit a police officer is required to cut off his pursuit and radio ahead for backup.  Since this is the case, why would we ever need our officers driving around in vehicles that go up to 170 mph, if not higher? I know there are other vehicles on the market that could very easily do the job.

I couldn’t find out how many of these cars are in the force, but I see them everywhere. If we had ten of these cars in the force at Kelly Blue Book value, that adds up to be $300,000. In my opinion, that money should be used in different departments of the state, like education. Dodge probably hooks the state up with a discount because they are getting the bid on getting these glorified hall monitors new cars every few years. Even if you were to get them at 20k, that is still a grip of money that could be spent elsewhere.

How does the state justify the purchase of these vehicles with tax payer dollars knowing that there are more efficient vehicles on the market that are much better for our environment as well as the state’s budget?
-Eric Eugene Phillip Hess

Dear Car Aficionado Guy,

To address your first issue, I seriously doubt it was a trooper getting into that car.  It might have been a local or county cop.  Or, it could’ve been an administrator.  And, cars aren’t issued with “rims” or tint.  If you could show a legit need for tint, like K9 duty with a dog in the car, or being an administrator who needs to masturbate anonymously, they’d probably put it on for you.  Otherwise, you’d have to pay for it yourself, and I couldn’t possibly see any need for “rims.”  In fact, they could be deemed hazardous. 
The dude was probably such a lifer that his POV looks like a cop car.  Troopers are known to do such things.

Yes, law enforcement buys their vehicles on the state bid.  If they go outside of the bid they have to have all kinds of legislative approvals which isn’t easy and a pain in the ass.  Consequently, the bid gets them the equipment pretty cheap, considering.  However, I bet it’s still $30K to $40K to outfit a roller.

No, there is nothing in any legit police policy I’ve ever heard of that says that doubling the speed limit during a high speed chase requires its termination.  You’re making up shit there, kind of like thinking the money you save by issuing all cops a Pinto will save education. But, you’re thinking might be partially correct.  I was at a recent conference, and many of the cops from the admin and detective ranks I observed were driving hybrid Toyotas.  Better gas mileage, cheap and green! No road cop or trooper working patrol could effectively do their job from a hybrid Toyota.  Go on a ride-a-long, you’ll find out.