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  • Supercar patrol car?

    When I was kid I vaguely remember when I lived in El Paso that either DPS or the Sheriff's office had a Lamborghini it used on the highway and at public functions. Have any other agencies done this? I'm guessing they acquired the car after busting drug dealers.

    I thought it pretty neat.
    "Give me chastity and give me constancy, but do not give it yet." -St. Augustine

  • #2
    Most cars like that are used strictly for public functions. I'd think that the cost to insure a car like that doing actual work would be way too much to be worth while.

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    • #3
      Indiana State Police used to use police interceptor Camaros and Mustangs for traffic enforcement. Now a lot of the unmarked are Grand Prix GTPs and even one GTO. I have seen lambos but they are rare and never seen them actually work.
      Originally posted by Smurfette_76
      You will always be disappointed when you expect rational behavior from irrational people.
      "I always carry a pen in my but, because you never know when things are going to crack off."
      Unnamed inmate VCJ

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      • #4
        Originally posted by bigj8550 View Post
        Indiana State Police used to use police interceptor Camaros and Mustangs for traffic enforcement. Now a lot of the unmarked are Grand Prix GTPs and even one GTO. I have seen lambos but they are rare and never seen them actually work.
        Yeah, I've seen the Camaros. I can't remember completely, I was 7, but I think they got the Lambo after convicting some drug lord in El Paso. There's tons of them there, at least when I lived there. It was cool seeing it, maybe due to my age and love for cars.

        As a side question, do state highway patrols actually use aircraft to catch the average joe doing 15-20mph over? There are signs all over Texas saying they do but I've never actually heard of it happening.
        Last edited by FirstStrike; 07-25-2007, 05:49 PM. Reason: Added question
        "Give me chastity and give me constancy, but do not give it yet." -St. Augustine

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        • #5
          Originally posted by FirstStrike View Post
          As a side question, do state highway patrols actually use aircraft to catch the average joe doing 15-20mph over? There are signs all over Texas saying they do but I've never actually heard of it happening.
          They absolutely do. Most states that do this will have markings on the roadways (in Nevada, they're little airplanes, just to remind drivers that Big Trooper may be overhead) that are used to clock vehicles for speed. The observer in the aircraft (usually a fixed-wing airplane - cheaper to operate) radios the speed and vehicle description to ground units below, and bingo, it's Christmastime. It's not uncommon for there to be multiple ground units working with the airplane, so if you ever see several cars pulled over by highway patrol units on a relatively short stretch of road, look up.

          On the original "Supercar" question, the sports cars are nice for catching real fast movers, but they're impractical for police work in several other ways. They don't hold much equipment. The typical patrol car cockpit these days is packed with radios, radar units, light bar and siren controls, MDTs, shotguns, patrol rifles, and other gear to the extent that there is barely room for the cop. Sports cars aggravate this problem, plus the vehicle outfitting companies don't make mounts to fit the sports cars because there is not enough business to support a new design. It's also difficult or impossible to transport a prisoner in a sports car. You aren't going to find a prisoner cage made to fit the sports cars, and the only remaining option is to transport them in the front passenger seat. That's dangerous for the officer (even though it's still done some places), and there may not be room because of the aforementioned equipment problem.

          The sports cars aren't usually designed for the rigors of patrol. Most police cars are large family sedans in disguise. They have to have plenty of interior room, plus beefed-up braking, cooling, electrical, and powertrain systems. The sports cars are built for speed, not for comfort or durability, so they wear out pretty quickly. If there aren't very many of them in the fleet, maintenance will have to be contracted out, and that adds to the cost of operation.

          Finally, most cops aren't trained to operate the higher-performance cars, and they can get out of their depth. Just about every police agency that has put the high-performance sports cars in the field as patrol units has also pried a few cops out of them after they were reduced to scrap metal.

          When I was a cop in Reno, Porsche North America had its headquarters there. Every Porsche sold in the U.S. and Canada came through Reno first. This was at the time when Ford was selling the 5.0 Mustang in a police package, and was running ads that pictured a Mustang in police livery with the caption "The car that chases Porsches for a living." Porsche offered Reno PD as many Autobahn Polizei-equipped Porsches as we could handle for whatever price we were paying that year for regular patrol cars (at that time, usually Plymouth Gran Furys). Everybody agreed that it would be cool, but at the same time, it wouldn't be very practical. Porsches don't hold up very well when driven over curbs, left idling for long periods, and run at low speeds for long periods, patrolling residential streets. We wouldn't have been able to transport prisoners without a prisoner van to help. On top of that, I know we would have cracked up a bunch of them, with the concomitant wear and tear on the officers driving them.

          By the way, Porsche had in mind an advertising campaign of "The car that chases the car that chases Porsches for a living."
          Tim Dees, now writing as a plain old forum member, his superpowers lost to an encounter with gold kryptonite.

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          • #6

            Aerial speed enforcement is used here in VA. A trooper is up in an airplane with a stopwatch or a VASCAR unit ( http://www.vascar.com ) to measure the speed of cars below. Basically, they observe a fast-moving vehicle and record the time it takes for it to move between two points {usually thick white lines perpendicular to the travel lane of the highway} that are approximately 1/4 mile apart. Distance traveled divided by the elapsed time will equal the vehicle's speed.

            The trooper in the plane contacts troopers on the ground who then confirm the speeding vehicle (type, color, position, etc.) and make the stop. I know that VA is definitely not the only state to do this. PA used to do it years ago, and I know that Ohio still has some planes in service. While it certainly is probably not "cost effective" when the plane, its pilot and the fuel burned is considered......aerial speed enforcment works quite well and I suspect that it is difficult - if not outright impossible - to beat such a ticket in court. Additionally, I believe that it has a great 'deterrent' value, at least for a short period of time.

            On stretches of our roads where they use aerial speed enforcment, VDOT will typically erect signs warning drivers about it and you will find those wide wide lines painted across the pavement. Nobody can accuse the state police of being "covert" about such tactics, and the news media will often broadcast warnings to the public ahead of time (Ex: Operation Air, Land & Speed).

            The comments above reflect my personal opinion as a private citizen, ordinary motorist and all-around good guy.

            The aforementioned advice should not be construed to represent any type of professional opinion, legal counsel or other type of instruction with regard to traffic laws, judicial proceedings or official agency policy.

            ------------------------------------------------

            "Ignorance on fire is hotter than knowledge on ice."

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            • #7
              Hopefully these guys were not involved...

              I'm 10-8 like a shark in a sea of crime..

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              • #8
                Very interesting, I think it was a Lamborghini Countach they had. Sounds like the aircraft are much more practical.
                "Give me chastity and give me constancy, but do not give it yet." -St. Augustine

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                • #9
                  For the longest time, I believe it was Arizona Highway Patrol or Nevada had a Lamborghini Countache ...
                  Moooooooooooo, I'm a goat

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by JSD73 View Post
                    For the longest time, I believe it was Arizona Highway Patrol or Nevada had a Lamborghini Countache ...
                    There was a poster that had a CHP Countach pulling over another Lambo. Don't know if was a real CHP or not though. Cool poster either way.
                    "Give me chastity and give me constancy, but do not give it yet." -St. Augustine

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                    • #11
                      In 2004 Lamborghini donated a Gallardo to the Italian State Police in honor of their 152nd anniversary. The vehicle was actually used as specialized patrol car.

                      http://www.italiaspeed.com/2004/cars..._gallardo.html


                      [/IMG]
                      Running is not a plan, running is what you do when a plan fails. -Tremors

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                      • #12
                        Along similar lines of the OP, are there any U.S. agencies that use import models as their standard patrol vehicles? Seems all I ever see are domestics (Crown Vic, Marauder, Mustang, Impala, Camaro, Intrepid, etc.) not that I'm complaining.
                        "I'm not afraid of loving my enemies...
                        I honestly want peace with you.
                        But when you come against my country,
                        When you come against my family,
                        You try to destroy my people,
                        I can't just stand by...
                        I am coming, and if I come, then
                        Pain is coming with me!"

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