Jalopnik likes to keep track of the different police cars around the world. This mainly consists of reporting the new exotic acquired by the Dubai Police Department or an update of the Carabinieri's Lamborghini Gallardo, with the occasional mention of a new domestic police vehicle.
But who am I to question the patrol vehicle decisions of foreign nations? I live in the United States of America, a country whose local police departments own armored personnel carriers even if the town has a population of 1500. And who couldn't stop a man from setting a new cross-country driving record last month.
Therefore, I've decided to mention the follies of our law enforcement agencies at home in their vehicle selection, which no doubt will literally put my name on the radar of police departments across America.
Author's Note: For the love of God, don't actually retort with anything that I suggest (not that I think people actually follow my advice if past lists are any indication). If you feel compelled to, just say them under your breath when the officer walks back to the patrol car.
Toyota Highlander Hybrid
Why the choice is debatable: No department needs a hybrid crossover, especially when this one costs over $40,000 before the requisite police equipment. In fact, an Explorer with the police package costs the same. And these aren't only found in Aspen. A few other police forces use them to shore up their environmental credentials, even though an Ecoboost Explorer is just as fine.
What you'll want to say: "You're driving the official vehicle of Spongebob Squarepants! My kids LOVE that show. I think it's a good way to connect with the young community since Spongebob breeds so much optimism. How about keeping up that optimism and letting me off with a warning?"
Why the choice is debatable: Granted, many of these are used for parking enforcement. But criminals will be tempted to run from the police officer driving a Smart. Because once a car chase moves to the highway, a Smart will have trouble keeping up, giving television news helicopters a reason to interrupt a feature on underwater basket weaving. Provided the good officer can get the transmission to work in his or her favor.
What you'll want to say: "Did you draw the short straw to get that car? How's the transmission on that thing? I'm sure you liked the Crown Vic better. Yeah, my car can outrun yours any day of the week, but since I respect the law, I pulled over. Now can you please let me off with a warning?"
Why the choice is debatable: On Jalopnik, the Hummer H2 has suffered plenty of vitriol. And it should. The one in the photo was actually bought outright as a police vehicle by an Indian reservation. However, most H2s in police fleets tend to be those seized from drug dealers and then used for drug awareness and recruitment campaigns. As if people take career advice and narcotics information from H2 owners seriously.
What you'll want to say: "Love the H2. You must be the coolest guy on the force. I think it makes you look very authoritative and makes me want to obey the law. Also... Officer, how many times have you actually gone off-road? If it's none, let's go four-wheeling sometime. Can you let me off with a warning?"
Why the choice is debatable: Once again, we come back to the inexplicable car preferences of the Aspen Police. Though the police Saabs are no more, as a taxpayer, I'd have questioned the service costs and wondered out loud why they couldn't get a Tahoe, Durango, or Expedition, like other wealthy parts of the country. Then again, this is Aspen, where a Ferrari driver once sued the police force over a speeding ticket, so maybe there were larger issues than complaining about department car choices.
What you'd have wanted to say: "Why hello officer! Did we not meet at the Policemen's Benevolent Association meeting? Well, I'm among their largest contributors. In fact, I think one of those checks probably paid for that wonderful Saab of yours. I would know...I bought it for my daughter. Twice."
Why the choice is debatable: Now this didn't actually happen in the end, but the California Highway Patrol came very, very close to getting Volvo S70s. Perhaps, the CHP figured they could play up their public safety card while receiving nicer seats and a better stereo. But let's think about what would've happened with S70 patrol cars. The Throttle Body Control Modules, brakes, steering racks, and strut towers would've suffered with the CHP at the high speeds and stresses placed on the cars, leading to through-the-roof service costs and another sustained raising of taxes.
What you'll want to say: "I'm amazed you managed to catch up at such high speeds without your strut towers breaking. How many brake jobs has your patrol car gone through? Couldn't the CHP have at least bought the wagon? At least I could pick up a good family car at auction. There is no way I am getting out of this ticket, is there?"
Which questionable vehicle choices has your local police department made? And what would you want to say to them about it?
Satish Kondapavulur runs Clunkerture, named because "Clunker.com" was $82 at auction and would've taken 30% out of the balance of his Eagle Vision for LeMons fund. In between contemplating cross-country runs, he spends much of his time attempting to convince others that his MkV Jetta 2.0T Wolfsburg is indeed a sports sedan.
First Hummer photo credit Policecarwebsite.net, Smart car photo credit Autoblog, second Hummer photo credit Policecararchives.org, Volvo photo credit Telstar Logistics, Highlander photo credit James Gillum, Saab photo credit fotki.com.