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LAPD's Next-Generation Chevy Caprice

The LAPD's Caprice concept for its next patrol car includes an in-dash screen, infrared night-vision camera, and ALPR to create a mobile data center.

July 21, 2011  |  by

Photo: LAPD.
Photo: LAPD.

The Los Angeles Police Department's "smart car" concept for its next patrol cruiser may not be able to outmaneuver the Batmobile, yet it's loaded with enough high-tech features to catch plenty of non-comic book crooks.

The department started with a prototype Chevrolet Caprice PPV with its 6.0-liter, V-8 engine that delivers 355 hp to take the vehicle from 0-60 mph in six seconds. A factory backup battery helps keep the cruiser and all its technological gear running.

An infrared night vision camera on the front of the vehicle can detect suspects hiding in a bush or behind an object and display them on a 10- to 12-inch touch-screen monitor mounted in the vehicle's dashboard.

The integrated screen replaces articulating-mount laptops, and allows an officer to control lights, sirens, Automatic License Plate Recognition (ALPR) scanners, and other gear.

The ALPR housing also includes a color overview camera, and the cruiser can exchange data via a thumb drive, Ethernet, Wi-Fi, or a wireless mesh network.

The custom system could be added to new vehicles as they enter the department's 5,000-vehicle fleet, according to Vartan Yegiyan, LAPD's director of police transportation.

"We're working closely with manufacturers to create an embedded computer screen in the vehicles, so it becomes part of the vehicle, thus reducing any extra brackets or components," Yegiyan tells POLICE Magazine. "Think of a police car that has a big navigation system."

The cruiser's seats include cutouts for an officer's gun and radio so duty gear doesn't push on the lower back. A seamless partition minimizes blind spots for the driver. Cutouts in the rear seats accommodate a handcuffed suspect's hands.

The department chose the Caprice as its prototype, but hasn't a made a final decision about which cruiser it will choose after Ford ceases production of the Crown Vic this year. The agency is still considering the Dodge Charger Pursuit and Ford's Taurus-based Police Interceptor set for a 2012 model-year release.

The agency is rating new vehicles on safety, durability, performance and cost competitiveness in that order, Yegiyan said.

Next, the LAPD will build a "smart car" version of the Dodge Charger. These vehicles are designed to allow the department work out details for its next patrol vehicle, Sgt. Dan Gomez tells POLICE.

"We don't just build show cars," said Sgt. Gomez, who supervises the tactical technology section that oversees the advanced police vehicle project. "We build cars that will work. We're trying to make functional cars."

Editor's Note: AOL featured the vehicle in its "Translogic 55" video segment.

Comments (8)

Displaying 1 - 8 of 8

Dr Grant R Jenks @ 7/26/2011 8:22 PM

I do not like the Chevy car's due to under pressure brakes get mushy and sterering. The Chevy back seats are nill, and the electrical system has standard amp chargers thus makes a high turn over car. Why buy three Chevys when One Mopar or Ford car has these items covered.
Mopar and Ford uses truck brakes, and steering that remains under pressure.

Chevy's SUCK as police vehicles!

Shane @ 10/18/2011 11:06 PM

I think someone is forgetting one of the most respected police vehicles to ever exist... the '91-'96 Chevrolet Caprices. Much better than the Fords.

daza @ 1/22/2012 6:35 PM

If you get your hands on this car you will love it.
It's a beast, but very well behaved.
This is the platform it comes from . . . more or less.

Top car in Australia. Handles, goes and stops with equal ability. Rough roads and tracks are all part of driving in Australia and they will handle it with ease.
I presume they will be made here in Oz, in that case they will be liked by most serious drivers and forgiving of less experienced ones.


daza Kalgoorlie WA

Sgt.Skip Wilson Retired @ 11/22/2012 8:01 AM

During my career i feel Chev.made one decent patrol vehicle.The 78 Nova was small but a beast with power and holding the road.All other Chev.patrol vehicles were light at high speed and hard to stop.The Ford Crown Vic was a very good unit and held the road well at high speeds.Seeing these new Dodge police units on the road is both attractive and can slip up on traffic offenders much better than Chev.or Ford.

Dan @ 11/28/2012 5:23 PM

I have driven the Charger and the Caprice on duty. My department will not be going to the Taurus due to it being all wheel drive and too much money to retrain the department at EVOC. Charger is great for paved city street departments but not rural dirt road agencies. Ground clearance is horrible on Charger. I like the CONCEPT quality of the caprice. would love that car for patrol.

gary.pearse @ 11/28/2012 6:14 PM

Sorry can't agree with GM. Car is not suited inside for fully equiped officers, insufficent head room, insufficient room in the footwell, arm rest on door digs in right leg and is too low to be used as armrest (left leg for USA) Very hard to get into and even worse to get out of in a hurry. Big motor little passange space, should be the opposite.

gary.pearse @ 11/28/2012 6:14 PM

Sorry can't agree with GM. Car is not suited inside for fully equiped officers, insufficent head room, insufficient room in the footwell, arm rest on door digs in right leg and is too low to be used as armrest (left leg for USA) Very hard to get into and even worse to get out of in a hurry. Big motor little passange space, should be the opposite.

Jeff Lewis @ 11/30/2012 5:41 AM

Being 6'4", they all have horrendous egress and digress capabilities. The Caprice is extremely stiff and you feel everything but for the power, the Caprice has it! The ones we have are equipped with the Corvette LS1 engine. Once you install a cage, you lose 3 inches of cabin room. The Charger isn't much better for a tall guy! At least the Charger suspension isn't so tight you can feel a pebble in the road! Forget train tracks and rough roads. Give me a Tahoe or Expedition and I am a happy camper!

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