We should all know our local and state issued Police cars. In the event of an emergency like having a murderer on the loose or being chased by a deranged psychopath or maybe traveling at speeds just above the limit, knowing which cars are there to extend the ever reaching long-arm-of-the-law is crucial.
I’m sure I speak for everyone when I say: we would like to evade at all times said loose murderers, deranged psychopaths, or gigantic, insurance-haunting, and extremely expensive speeding violations.
That brings us to the cliche that ‘knowledge is power’. Some of us have radars, some of us use “Waze” (despite major lapse in safety) and some of us just go blind and hope for the best. There is really no way of scouting would-be angry police officers with 100% accuracy. But having some knowledge of their vehicles could help reduce your chance of fulfilling their monthly quota.
2016 Ford Interceptor Utility
I’m sure you’ve seen many of these around lately and that’s because it has become Ford’s most popular selling police vehicle. The Interceptor Utility offers officers the most room for equipment, cargo, outlaws, and shotguns. However, despite the Interceptor Utility’s luscious and accommodating interior, it has a 3.5 liter eco-boost motor that produces 365hp. As well as a completely custom suspension that helps the truck maneuver through crowds and tackle corners.
One of the biggest problems with identifying the Utility from afar is that it is based off the same chassis and body of the Ford Explorer. So at night, if let’s just say and this a totally hypothetical – not like you would ever do it – type of conversation – you were traveling just north of 100mph and you were analyzing other cars on the road to see if you can pick out an Interceptor, you would have hard time deciphering whether it was an officer in uniform or a middle aged little league baseball coach driving his son back from the game. This hesitation is dangerous as now your attention is being split off into multiple directions while you plummet down the thruway at high speed.
Some giveaways to the Utility’s presence are the head and tail lights. The headlights now have been outlined in a white glow LED. The 2016 Explorer and Intercepter Utility have both received a face lift to some extent. The new headlight units are no longer xenon. Now they are more block-like shaped LED light. They almost resemble the Jeep Grand Cherokee headlight in shape. So keep in mind that the older model year cars will still have the two single beam xenon lights but newer models will begin to trickle in sooner rather than later. As far as taillights, it has probably always been the easiest piece of the Utility to identify. The truck features bizarre, oblong shaped lights that are pretty heinous looking and at night the light outlines the shape of the taillight. As long as your coherent to some degree, you should be able to see them from afar.
Please also be advised for the Ford Interceptor. It may be a more familiar face around city streets. However, as the remaining Crown Vics perish, we will see more of them as the standard issue vehicle no matter the location. The Interceptor has similar earmarks to its bigger brother; the Utility.
2016 Chevy Tahoe
The Tahoe’s induction to Police stardom is fairly newer than some of the other models that we’ve seen around. This kind of sucks because for the longest time I’m sure many of us have had our scares – where you fly up behind one, see the roof lighting, proceed to soil yourself, only to cruise passed (whistling with two hands at 10 & 2) and realize that it’s just a friendly “Mobile ICU” instead of a quota hunting predator. Unfortunately, those rules are no longer in play. The Tahoe has made its way to the big leagues and it’s packing a punch as well.
The 2016 Tahoe Police Unit carries a 4WD “Pursuit Model” which will help officers track down those brave (or stupid enough) to try and run. The Tahoe will also be harnessing a 5.3L EcoTec3 V8 that has 355hp and an active fuel management system. That means that the Tahoe will be able to go the distance – whether you’re in a tank or a Prius. For those of you who think going off-road is the best way to escape – Chevy has put in a “Heavy-duty Police Rated Suspension” which means the truck is at home regardless of its terrain.
The only thing that doesn’t fit the Tahoe as much as some of its other police mates is its size. The truck is gigantic and that means that you shouldn’t have a hard time picking it out as it stands way above traffic. Be alert for undercover units who do not have any markings but heavily tinted windows, all-black with chrome center hub capped rims, and a spotlight just ahead of the driver side window. This should a let you see what you’re dealing with.
2016 Charger Pursuit V-8 & V-8 AWD
We’ve all probably seen this before. It is the most intimidating unit on the street. The Charger Pursuit offers a raging 370hp while achieving 26mpg. Not too shabby, especially for the daily.
Some signatures of the Charger are the same ones that we’ve seen in some of the vehicles above: look for the rims, the tinted windows, the spotlight and the reflection of light from within the LED lighting system located INSIDE the grill. However, the easiest way to spot the Charger is its taillight design.
The gigantic “bar” lighting style lights up on the highway and it literally screams at you from miles away. This makes it an easy blip on your mental radar.
Despite all police moving away from the historic Crown Victoria, it doesn’t mean that they are not around anymore.
The Crown Victoria is what we’re all used to. They’re kind of like the old grandfather that many of us never had. You know, the one that sleeps all day but if he wakes up and yells; you ultimately listen? I don’t know, but they are still here and they still can get you into big trouble. The way I’ve always been able to identify them is by the inner parking light square. The headlamps (non-xenon, obviously) take up almost 75% of the front housing. On the inside is this orange square designated for the parking lights. This is normally the tell-tale that a Crown Vic is trolling you. Sometimes it’s just an old cab but then again – it might not be.
The challenge of spotting any of these police units is differentiating them from civilians. Many of these cars are popular cars among people, which means you will be brake checking yourself (like I do) every 10 seconds because you don’t know if the Tahoe a quarter mile up is going to serve you a 4 point ticket, or if it’s just a mom driving her kids home from school.
I write this article with a bit of humor and a bit of sincerity. It is not safe to speed on the highway, to weave in and out of traffic and to push yourself above the limits that you can handle. Find a road upstate where there is no traffic and have yourself a blast.
But whatever you do: do not put other people in danger with your driving.