Chrysler has been producing Plymouth or Dodge patrol cars since the early 1930s, and for many of those early years Plymouth turned out some special cars for police work. The earliest came when the Washington State Patrol began using a 1932 Plymouth 1932 PB coupe, according to AllPar.com. Chrysler offered its first police package on 1956 Dodge Coronets. The 1970s brought the era of Mopar squads.
After retiring its venerable Crown Victoria Police Interceptor, Ford offered law enforcement agencies two choices—the Police Interceptor sedan and P.I. Utility. The P.I. Utility has caught on with highway patrol agencies for its increased cargo capacity and rear-end crash rating. View our gallery of in-service Ford P.I. Utility vehicles, and then read "The New Recruits: In-Service Cop Cars" for detailed stories of agencies using them. Photos provided by the respective agencies unless otherwise noted.
The Los Angeles Police Department and Chrysler developed a concept of the "patrol car of the future" that was displayed at the 2012 International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) conference. The Dodge Charger features an integrated dashboard screen, solar-powered lightbar, USB ports, and a vehicle wrap. Read the full story, "LAPD's Next-Generation Dodge Charger." Photos by Paul Clinton.
After retiring its venerable Crown Victoria Police Interceptor, Ford offered law enforcement agencies two choices—the Police Interceptor sedan and P.I. Utility. The vehicles provide a balance of fuel efficiency and power. View our gallery of in-service Ford Police Interceptor sedans, and then read "The New Recruits: In-Service Cop Cars" for detailed stories of agencies using them. Photos provided by the respective agencies unless otherwise noted.
Chevrolet returned to the patrol car market with its Caprice PPV, a smaller, more powerful Caprice than the mid-90s model. This new police-only Caprice has impressed agencies with its mix of agility, braking, and high-speed handling. View our gallery of in-service Chavrolet Caprice PPVs, and then read "The New Recruits: In-Service Cop Cars" for detailed stories of agencies using them. Photos provided by the respective agencies unless otherwise noted.
In the the race to replace the Ford Crown Vic on patrol, the Dodge Charger Pursuit arguably had a leg up on the competition, because Chrysler introduced it in 2006 and has worked out some of the initial kinks in the transition from a retail to police vehicle. Agencies who buy Chargers enthuse about the muscular V-8 HEMI and aggresive styling. View our gallery of in-service Chargers, and then read "The New Recruits: In-Service Cop Cars" for detailed stories of agencies using them. Photos provided by the respective agencies unless otherwise noted.
The NYPD began using horse-drawn police wagons in the later part of the 19th Century to move police forces from place to place. Motorized wagons came into use later, and it wasn't until the 1920s and 30s that the department began regularly using motorized patrol cars. Plymouth two-door radio cars were the standard in the late 1930s and 1940s. By the 1970s, the Plymouth Fury was the mainstay. Black-and-white photos courtesy of the New York City Police Museum.
The Michigan State Police tested 2012 model-year patrol vehicles at this year's tests in mid-September. State troopers assigned to the Precision Driving Unit tested vehicles submitted by Chrysler/Dodge, Ford, General Motors/Chevrolet, BMW, Harley-Davidson, Kawasaki, and Victory Motorcycles. Photos courtesy of Michigan State Police unless indicated otherwise.
Law enforcement agencies such as the Boise (Idaho) Police Department have opted for Chrysler's 2011 Dodge Charger Pursuit as their new patrol car to replace the Crown Vic being phased out by Ford this year. Rather than introduce a new model, Chrysler opted to upgrade its existing Charger. For the 2011 model year, Chrysler added a Pentastar V-6 engine option and added electronic stability control to the suspension for better handling during higher-speed pursuits. Watch our Charger video feature from the Michigan vehicle testing.
Ted Saraf's strong memories of his rolling office as a young officer with the Pasadena (Calif.) Police Department led him to Texas in 2008 to find and restore the object of his affection—a 1968 Dodge Coronet. Saraf purchased the vehicle via eBay, and set out to lovingly restore it to how he remembered it during its service days in the late 1960s and '70s. Saraf brought the vehicle to the 2011 Police Fleet Expo to show attendees his finished work.
Law enforcement officers usually get to drive "sportier" cars for community relations activities, parades or other warm-weather events. The Bloomfield (Mich.) Police Department, because of a special relationship with General Motors, can call to duty a Chevrolet Corvette, Cadillac CTS Sport, HRR, or Cadillac XLR-V. For more on the vehicles, read the article, "Sporty Police Cars."
The Ford Motor Co. produced a "stealth" version of its 2012 Police Interceptor for an automotive trade show. Ford has no current plants to produce the stealth concept vehicle, yet it released additional photos showing its spy-car features that include lighting that isn't noticible until its activated, a secret weapons compartment in the glove box and more sinister body styling lines. The vehicle appeared at the SEMA (Specialty Equipment Market Association) Show in early November. Photos are courtesy of Ford.
Firefighters, the military, paramedics, even postal carriers, drive vehicles built for their jobs. The Carbon Motors' E7 would give law enforcement officers such a vehicle. Time will tell whether it becomes the "patrol car of the future." But here's a closer look at its purpose-built (mostly interior) features that have made an impression with officers.
The Ford Motor Co.'s March announcement that it will introduce a new patrol car has been met with a high level of interest from officers who have been driving the Ford Crown Vic Police Interceptor since the 1990s. Ford has been producing vehicles for law enforcement for almost 100 years. Here's a look at photos and ads through the years that feature the company's vehicles, beginning with a Model T police truck produced in 1919.
Each year, the Michigan State Police driving unit evaluates law enforcement vehicles from the new model year. The unit evaluates patrol cars, SUVs and motorcycles using a series of tests that test each vehicle's performance, ergonomics and mechanic-friendly qualities. The results are tallied and included in a report that's used by police fleet managers to aid in the decision to purchase patrol vehicles.