The presence of a police car can elicit different feelings in people depending on the context. It can make someone feel on guard, relieved or even afraid. Just witnessing one of these cars in action is liable to stir up in someone any one of these conflicting emotions.
Regardless of one’s reaction upon encountering one, there’s a shared mystery about those who aren’t in law enforcement share about cop cars. Those who’ve never been in handcuffs and thrown in the back of a cop car don’t really know what the inside looks like. They may have glimpsed the cage partition, or the MDT laptop officers type away at from the dash, but everything else is unknown.
When cop cars remain mysterious, it’s to the enforcement’s advantage. There are some serious equipment and tools these cars come equipped with. Stowed away in hidden compartments, while at the same time easily accessible, cop cars come loaded with a heavy arsenal for officers to work with on the job.
On the outside, a cop car looks unassuming and inadequate for handling tough situations like high-speed chases. This is all intentional though and intended to give enforcement the upper hand thanks to all the hidden and advanced features they come with.
We’re going to look at secret features that come with cop cars people don’t know about. Not only do these vehicles come with advanced technology other cars can only dream of, but the actual car parts come modified to accommodate many of these hidden features. Don’t forget to also check out reasons cops give fines whether they make sense or not.
15 They Come With A Rumbler Siren That Vibrates Cars
As technological advances continue to roll out, they in turn trickle down to police cars. One such feature includes Rumbler sirens, which Omaha police have already started implementing.
According to the Omaha World-Herald, the Rumbler sirens issue out a bass sound that's at a low enough frequency that even drivers will be able to feel it. With drivers more distracted than ever these days, along with what the source notes are modern vehicles' ability to drown out siren noises, these Rumbler sirens help alert drivers by using a different method. This photo is of a Police Detective showing off the new tech under the hood of a police car.
14 There’s A Device That Shoots A GPS Tracker On Suspect Vehicles
It might be hard to believe such a device exists, but already police cars are implementing the new tech. Dubbed StarChase, according to Jalopnik, it’s a device that goes on the front grille of a police car and literally shoots out a GPS tracker that's supposed to attach to a suspect's vehicle.
While the device itself sounds outlandish, it does offer an appealing alternative to those long drawn-out high-speed pursuits. Using StarChase, a cop can let the suspect flee and catch up with them later at their hideout, presenting a potentially safer route. Then again, it takes away the excitement of watching a high-speed pursuit play out on TV.
13 The Cars Are Sturdy and Easy To Maintain
When people picture a police car in their heads, more than likely they think of the Crown Victoria. These were the preferred cars for enforcement from the 1990s up through the 2000s. There’s a reason these were popular for police departments: they’re low maintenance vehicles.
According to Thrillist, it didn’t cost much to fix them up, which is a benefit considering all the risk involved while in the field. Even more, the same source notes that they have RWD, which was another appealing feature for cops. Apparently, they've based all their training and drills on RWD vehicles, so the Crown Vic fits in nicely with what's already established.
12 Can Go 21 Miles Without Using Any Gas
Ford is once again in the law enforcement market mix with their Fusion Energi hybrid. With fewer trips to the pump, cops can focus on the job at hand without needing to worry about filling up as often.
According to Motor Trend, these vehicles can go 21 miles without the need to plug in again—which they point out is about the length of a shift. Perhaps this is Ford’s way of trying to secure another era of police cars after their Crown Vics have gone the way of the junkyard. With police departments going with Dodge Charges and Microsoft’s MAPP model, it signals a competitive market for automakers.
11 Run Lock Feature Lets Cops Remove Keys And Keep The Car Running
Police cars have built-in features that ordinary cars lack. These cars have the ability to remain running even when drivers take the keys out of the ignition. Amber Valley Developments notes that this feature—called Run Lock—also allows the vehicle’s equipment and lights to continue working. The battery isn’t even at risk of dying while in this mode, which allows cops to exit the vehicle if they need to handle a situation.
When the officer returns to the vehicle, they don’t have to start up the engine again if they’re in a hurry. This feature has another important benefit, which we’ll detail in the next section below.
10 Run Lock Also Prevents Car Theft
When criminals get caught, they can get desperate. Even if they’re already getting taken in for committing a crime, they’ll risk racking up more charges if they find an opening to escape. As a precaution, in case criminals try to steal a police car, the Run Lock system prevents them from driving off with it.
According to Amber Valley Developments, when an officer removes the keys from the ignition, which enables the Run Lock feature, it requires one to insert the keys again in order to operate the vehicle. If someone tries to engage a pedal without the key, then the car’s engine shuts off automatically, putting them in even a worse rut.
9 Facial Recognition Cameras
Some police departments are already experimenting with cameras that can scan a person’s face and run it through the system. According to The Telegraph, it’s already in testing in places like central London due to the increase in crime. It can even take into account defining facial features, reports The Engineer.
“We were told that given a sufficiently clear image it could recognize people based on key parameters, even if they had hats, beards or clothing partially covering their face," said Dick Ellam, an exec with Vauxhall's Special Vehicles (The Engineer). If this kind of tech became widespread on police cars, it could change law enforcement forever.
8 MDT In-Car Police Laptops Require A Fingerprint To Access
Anyone who's seen those laptops cops use from the private confines of their cars have wondered what's on there. These devices contain lots of private information, making it necessary to lock data away from anyone who’s not the police. According to YouTube user officer401, these laptops often require a special login username or even a thumbprint to grant access.
This is in case someone manages to get inside a police car and tries to look something up on the computer. As is a recurring theme throughout this list, it appears that police cars have prepared for the worst-case scenario, even in cases where someone breaks into a police car.
7 Microsoft’s Police Car Comes With Drones
Major companies like Microsoft appear to be breaking into the law enforcement market. According to Drone Life, these vehicles—dubbed MAPP, which stands for Microsoft’s Advanced Patrol Platform—is a decked out SUV that may signal the future for law enforcement.
Not only does the car come with state-of-the-art tech, but also syncs up with mobile devices when cops are away from the vehicle. It might present a challenge to officers though who would have to learn a new software unless it’s comparable to what they’re already using. Perhaps most impressive of all about the MAPP though is that it comes equipped with a drone by Aeryon Labs.
6 Devices Can Scan License Plates, Car Models, Colors And Even Bumper Stickers
These devices aren’t always hidden, but few really know exactly what it is they do. Called ALPRs, which stands for Automated License Plate Readers, Ars Technica reports that these devices capture license plates and run it through a network. The same source also notes the device is only getting better.
Reminiscent of Big Brother out of George Orwell’s landmark novel 1984, they’re now able to identify a vehicle's make, color, and even bumper stickers. Once limited to reading license plates only, these devices have since improved on what they’re able to scan and may only continue to evolve as time marches on.
5 Equipped With Parts That Have Improved Performance In Mind
More modern police cars tend to focus more on technology and performance. Perhaps it’s due to a potential rise in performance vehicles on the road today, and an attempt to remain ahead of the pack. According to the site Miami Lakes Automall, many Dodge Chargers come with upgrades past models—such as the Crown Vic—sorely lacked.
Some of those features include a suspension with shock absorbers that makes for better handling. Along with a more powerful motor, these cars also have a better braking system, which drivers will need to depend on in those high-speed pursuits. These patrol cars tend to conceal the improved performance until one actually sees it in action.
4 Ventilated Trunks
The trunk may not sound like an interesting part of a vehicle to focus on, but the ones in police cars are far different from typical vehicles. Autoblog draws attention to a particular model of Dodge Chargers serving as police cars that have slide-out trunk trays that store a slew of equipment.
Even more, the trunk has a ventilation system that keeps this storage area cool. With all the electronics stocked back there, they could fry if it gets too hot. The real highlight of these Dodge Chargers though are the V8 engines capable of hitting a massive 292 hp, which we'd imagine comes in handy.
3 Instead Of Tracking Mileage, The Dash Has An Hour Meter
If a civilian gets behind the wheel of a police car, a lot of things are going to feel foreign. Although it may not be the first thing one notices, the dashboard is a far cry from a conventional vehicle’s. Standard vehicles list the number of miles a car racks up over time; a police car, on the other hand, has an hour meter.
This, according to Thrillist, is a more useful measurement for mechanics to track the length of a time a car runs. Since police cars require more regular maintenance compared to standard vehicles, it makes sense they'd want a scaled-down measurement.
2 Stealth Versions Have Blacked Out Exteriors, Some Glow In The Dark
Those familiar with the highway chase sequence in Batman Begins will find this next feature akin to the Batmobile. There are police cars intended to look inconspicuous that take a more covert approach to law enforcement. According to The Morning Call, there are police cars painted all black that can blend in at night.
There’s even special “ghost lettering" on the outside that identifies it as a police vehicle while also appearing camouflaged. The News & Observer reports that North Carolina’s police departments have already started employing Dodge Chargers that glow in the dark. This seems to signal a new era for law enforcement that only enhances their capabilities at night.
1 They Have Bulletproof Doors
Movies and TV shows tend to exaggerate real-life circumstances. This next feature in police cars though, which often crops up in fiction, actually reflects reality. Thrillist reports that Crown Vics—one of the most recognizable police cars—had the option of bulletproof Kevlar on the doors. That means cops sitting up front are more protected from a barrage.
It can even help them when they’re outside the vehicle when hiding behind the car for cover. With this lining hidden inside the door, few would ever suspect the cars to come with resistant doors that can withstand a lot.
Sources: Thrillist, Amber Valley Developments, Omaha World-Herald, Ars Technica, Jalopnik, YouTube, Drone Life, The Morning Call, The News & Observer, Autoblog, The Engineer, The Telegraph, Miami Lakes Automall, Motor Trend