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  • 2-Man Cars vs. 1-Man Cars

    My question is, what are all the pros and cons of having 2-man cars vs. riding solo?

    I've heard many agencies all had 2-man cars decades ago, and less so nowadays- any truth to this? Many departments in the suburbs (Chicago) don't have them.

    What does your agency use?

    What do you prefer, and why?

    In the future, do you see more solo cars, or 2-man cars, and why?

    (Sorry if this has been covered at some point already, but this topic has always intrigued me as a future-LEO.)

    Thanks!...

  • #2
    There are many pros and cons.

    When you have a shift working with twenty officers in one officer units you theoretically have twenty separate beats and relatively nearby units to offer back up.

    If you have a shift working with twenty officers in two officer units, you still have twenty beats, just ten units to cover them - and back up is in your pocket. But, two officer units still call for back ups and the others are further away. There is a fuel savings but you are paying two officers to do the work of one. Additionally, you have effectively reduced your work force.

    Administators are aware of the officer safety issues, but are more interested in meeting budget constraints and operating within those financial parameters.

    There are a number of studys available on this very subject.

    http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q...+officer+units
    Be courteous to all, but intimate with few, and let those few be well tried before you give them your confidence!

    [George Washington (1732 - 1799)]

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    • #3
      Malcolm Gladwell, in his book Blink, talks about how officers in one man cars use better, safter tactics than officers in two man cars. Reason being (and it's probably obvious to everyone here) is that when you're alone, you're more careful. When you have someone with you, you have a false sense of security and tend to let your guard down a little. I don't recall the specifics of the study, but it's towards the end of the book.

      On a related note, as officers often make snap decisions, that book discusses a number of different studies done to illustrate how accurate people are when making decisions within the first 2 seconds. Check it out if you're into psychology. It's not centered on policework or anything, but it's an interesting read.

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      • #4
        It is certainly nice to have the immediate back up, and the second set of eyes, and hands, but it depends entirely on who you have in a car with you. I am one of my PD's more pro-active guys. We run one man cars, but I sometimes get paired up with guys to work as a 'special unit' on a shift by shift basis.

        Unfortunately a part of the agenda involved with this is to try, and get the guy they pair me up with interested/involved with pro-active policework. This sometimes results in me being paired up with an idiot. This means that when I'm on the side of the road with a car load of future inmates, the idiot partner is starring off into space, or in a bad position, or watching what I'm doing rather than covering the fingerprint doners (you get the idea). I wind up having to watch what he is doing which takes away from my ability to be attentive to the things I am supposed to be doing.

        I think that if you had a good match up for a partner (same energy level, coparible tactics, philisophical compatibility), two man cars would be awsome. If you are pro-active, and are stuck with someone who thinks that patrol should just be visible, and handle calls (ie: do nothing unless called) it is a nightmare. I'm sure the opposite is true as well. I wouldn't want to be in a car with me if my goal was to not get into something.

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        • #5
          Of the last 4 patrol deputies that were murdered in the line of duty, ALL were in 1 man cars.....we havent lost anyone from a 2 man car since 1997.....

          There have been a few incidents where there were multiple deputies on scene, and we lost one.....but not in the 'typical' patrol situation
          The posts on this forum by this poster are of his personal opinion, and his personal opinion alone

          "Politicians are like diapers. They need to be changed often and for the same reason"

          "We fight not for glory; nor for wealth; nor honor, but only and alone we fight for freedom, which no good man surrenders but with his life"

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          • #6
            Originally posted by CUFFS137 View Post
            It is certainly nice to have the immediate back up, and the second set of eyes, and hands, but it depends entirely on who you have in a car with you. I am one of my PD's more pro-active guys. We run one man cars, but I sometimes get paired up with guys to work as a 'special unit' on a shift by shift basis.

            Unfortunately a part of the agenda involved with this is to try, and get the guy they pair me up with interested/involved with pro-active policework. This sometimes results in me being paired up with an idiot. This means that when I'm on the side of the road with a car load of future inmates, the idiot partner is starring off into space, or in a bad position, or watching what I'm doing rather than covering the fingerprint doners (you get the idea). I wind up having to watch what he is doing which takes away from my ability to be attentive to the things I am supposed to be doing.

            I think that if you had a good match up for a partner (same energy level, coparible tactics, philisophical compatibility), two man cars would be awsome. If you are pro-active, and are stuck with someone who thinks that patrol should just be visible, and handle calls (ie: do nothing unless called) it is a nightmare. I'm sure the opposite is true as well. I wouldn't want to be in a car with me if my goal was to not get into something.
            I think the biggest element of two man cars is having someone in the car that has the same goal sets as you do in the course of your work. (Go-getter vs. Easy going) I'm not going to judge which one is better but personally I prefer to keep myself busy as opposed to waiting for trouble to find me. I also like having a partner to help me do that. But on the other side of the coin sometimes I like to just plain go and screw off and not be taggin' every speeder or non-turn signal using scumbag I can find. As a Marine MP I used to enjoy exploring the base back tank trails and what not and see where they led. I found a lot of alternate routes by doing that and learning the back country of the base.

            I think the best place for two man(or women ) cars is where you have a high population density like NYC, Chicago, LA, ect. Where having two cops in one car doesn't really provide less coverage. In some places its just not possible to do two man cars because of the coverage area is so wide that its just plain impractical.

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            • #7
              if given the choice i'm always going to ride solo...i like my firends but damn, not enough to be crammed into an impala with them for 9 hours a day
              Perseverate In Pugna

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Narco944 View Post
                if given the choice i'm always going to ride solo...i like my firends but damn, not enough to be crammed into an impala with them for 9 hours a day
                If I had an Impala I wouldn't want to sit that close to somebody either. But besides that give me a 2 man ride any day. A 2 man ride is safer and can get more done than a one man car. You miss way to much fun stuff driving without that extra set of eyeballs to look around for you. If you have two hard chargers in one car and do an even share of the work it's amazing what you can do.

                Several years ago we had a DUI checkpoint. Me and a buddy were the stat leaders in DUI arrests at the station. During the checkpoint the let us work a roving 2 man patrol together while the other 14 cops worked the actual checkpoint. We hooked more drunks than the entire checkpoint (12 in an 8 hour period the checkpoint had 10). As we rolled in with the DUI one of us booked and took the breath sample, the other wrote the report and ran the arrest review. By the time those were done we were back out and looking for the next hook
                Today's Quote:

                "The difference between stupidity and genius is that genius has its limits."
                Albert Einstein

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                • #9
                  I choose riding solo to riding with a partner any day.

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                  • #10
                    I work for a small department in MA. Our winters can be very unforgiving. I always thought the idea of 2 man cars in severe weather (snowstorm) was a good idea. Instead of showing up by yourself to a hot call while your nearest back-up is slip-sliding their way to you in a cruiser, two man cars provided the ability of two officers arriving together. Just think this a better idea for us versus putting several single officer units on the road.

                    Just my .02.

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                    • #11
                      2 MAN car because i can say "wow look at those hooters" to another officer in the car rather than just saying it to myself.

                      hooters........the restaurant.

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                      • #12
                        we only have one person cars with the exception of our tactical units...of course, they run amock throughout the city doing whatever they wants as long as they produce. I enjoyed working the tactical rotation...LOL.
                        sigpic

                        I don't agree with your opinion, but I respect its straightforwardness in terms of wrongness.

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                        • #13
                          We are 1 man units and I like it that way. I can't stand riding with someone, cause we all have different styles of patrol that complement each other. I do things one way and someone else does it differently. I don't have to consult with anyone else about which direction to go, when to stop a car, where to run radar, what radio station to listen to (Howard 100, 101) and bitch about me scanning the other radio zones in the county.

                          We are good about backing each other up and getting there asap. With that being said, some are complete wastes and I would drive them into a wall if I had to ride with them for an extended period. They spend more time figuring out how to avoid work than just working. I also cannot ride as a passenger for an extended period of time, I hate that with a passion.
                          Being a good street cop is like coming to work in a wet suit and peeing in your pants. It's a nice warm feeling, but you're the only one who knows anything has happened.

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                          • #14
                            I hate working alone...having a partner is the way to go. It allows you to stop a car full of gangsters and handle it yourselves, respond to basically any call and handle it yourself...and 2 on 1 is always better. Not to mention pursuits...one broadcasts one drives...one runs one broadcasts. Contact and cover....it all is better when there are two of you.
                            "For he is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer." Romans 13:4

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                            • #15
                              I'd say we all work under many different conditions that could favor either one or two officer units. Being a game warden, if I have anyone in the truck with me they are probably in handcuffs within arm's reach, (). Complacent? No way. Beginning yesterday, (opening day of dove season, nationwide) almost all of my contacts for the rest of the year will have a loaded gun in their hands until I direct them otherwise.
                              There is definitely a different mindset and psychology to working alone.

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