Armored vehicles provide officers with tactical advantages in barricade situations and other incidents involving individuals armed with high-caliber rounds. In addition to NIJ Level IV protection, they can be customized with all manner of equipment, including gear to help evacuate civilians and downed officers. Read our August feature to find out how to secure funding for these useful tools. Photos provided by manufacturers.
Ring Power's The Rook offers law enforcement agencies a versatile, tracked tactical vehicle with ballistic armoring rated to stop Level IV threats including armor-piercing rifle rounds. The Rook includes an armored deployment platform, hydrailic breaching ram, vehicle extraction tool, grapple claw, and 25-foot gooseneck trailer. The vehicle retails for $250,000. Photos courtesy of Ring Power.
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 LAPD Air Support Division is the largest municipal airborne law enforcement organization in the U.S. and operates from the LAPD Hooper Heliport. The helicopter crews assist with thousands of arrests, pursuits and crimes in progress each year. The LAPD's airborne law enforcement program began with one helicopter in 1956. Today, the Air Support Division is the largest municipal airborne law enforcement operation in the world and logged more than 18,000 flight hours in 2011. Photos courtesy of the LAPD's Air Support Angel's Foundation.
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.
Victory Motorcycles, a division of Polaris, has introduced three new motorcycles into the police market for 2012—the Commander I, Commander II, and Vision. The touring-type bikes are conversions of the civilian Victory models Cross Country, Cross Roads, and Vision Tour respectively. The distinctively styled bikes have been upfitted for police use, tested in Michigan and Los Angeles by precision LE drivers, and adopted by several smaller agencies. Victory reps tout the officer-safety features on the cycles.
Alpine Armoring's Pit-bull VX SWAT Truck debuted at the 2011 IACP conference in Chicago, and the sleek, imposing vehicle looks like it may have rolled off an action-movie set. The 4x4 truck, which is built on a Ford F-550 chassis, offers armor protection up to NIJ Level IV to stop high-power rifle rounds, including 7.62x51, 7.62x54, and 5.56x45. View our gallery for more on this vehicle. Photos courtesy of Alpine Armoring.
Law enforcement agencies usually select helicopters for their airborne unit with the mission in mind—lighter, single-engine craft work well for patrol and surveillance, while larger-capacity, twin-engine craft are better suited for search-and-rescue operations. View our gallery of several of the more commonly deployed police helicopters.
Each summer, two insurance-industry associations — the Highway Loss Data Institute and National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) — release lists of the top 10 vehicles stolen across the country in the prior year. For the fourth year in a row, the Cadillac Escalade was the most stolen insured vehicle, according to the institute, which lists only vehicles with theft coverage. The NICB's report is typically more comprehensive because it covers all stolen vehicles reported by law enforcement agencies, including those that are not insured. The 1994 Honda Accord, which could be worth about $2,000 on the open market in good condition, tops the NICB report. The 735,547 vehicles stolen in 2010 represents the fewest number of stolen vehicles since the 659,800 reported stolen in 1967.
Motorola Solutions unveiled its concept of a next-generation patrol vehicle at a July press event that brings many new communications capabilities to field officers. Motorola's Chevy Caprice includes an LTE broadband modem, steering wheel controls for radio communication, and voice-command technology. Video processing technology optimizes in-car video streaming into and out of the vehicle.
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.