Saturday, August 22, 2009

How To Spot An Unmarked Cop Car?

Most of the time, police cars stand out. They're supposed to do that.

You've likely seen plenty of Ford Crown Victoria cruisers. Also known as the CVPI (Crown Victoria Police Interceptor), they have been a staple of many state, county, and local police departments since 1992.

But what do officers drive when they don't want to be noticed? We'll show you in an AOL Autos' guide to covert cruisers.

Spotter's Guide: How to Spot Unmarked Cop Cars

But what do officers drive when they don't want to be noticed?

Stealth Mustang GT Departments often use the unmarked Crown Victoria for traffic patrols (we'll show you photos in a few frames). But as if this weren't sneaky enough, some agencies drive the Ford Mustang. This particular high-performance GT V-8muscle car patrols Harper Woods, Michigan. One side of the Mustang is a "plain wrapper," while the other sports full-on police markings.

Stealth Mustang GT: Spotting the cues Police cars need specific equipment to perform their appointed rounds. Many of them are visible to the trained eye, even on unmarked cars. For example, this image shows where lights are commonly added:

In the grill

On the exterior mirrors

Along the top edge of the windshield

Further observation reveals the radar and video camera mounted on the dash.

Stealth Mustang GT: Spotting the cuesIt may be hardest to recognize the stealth Mustang GT police car from the side. A keen eye will note:

Flasher lights in the rear quarter window

A marker/flasher on the front quarter panel

Stubby radio antennas on the trunk lid mounted just ahead of the rear spoiler

The patrol officer's brush cut, sunglasses and department patch on his jacket's sleeve may only become visible once he is writing your ticket.

Stealth Mustang GT: Spotting the cuesSpotting a covert police cruiser from the rear is difficult. The stripes, rear spoiler, and the "GT" emblem help this Mustang blend with traffic. But even this car shows some cop car cues:

Each state has an official municipal license plate. Learn your state's plate. For example, Michigan's has an "X" in the middle.

Short police radio antennas on the trunk lid

Look in the rear window for blue and red flashers

The Unmarked Crown Victoria

The Ford Crown Victoria has been a police workhorse for nearly two decades. It was introduced in 1992. Often, police departments will use marked and unmarked versions of the "Vickies" for traffic patrol work. But how can you tell whether you're about to speed pass a sedan issued to the Water and Sewage Department or to the police department?

Covert Crown Victoria: Spotting the cuesJust like the stealth Mustang, a working CVPI patrol car needs specific equipment to do its job.

Find the following in this photo:

Front push bar

Front bumper lights

Remote spotlights

Mirror-mounted flashers

Radar unit and radios on dash

Covert Crown Victoria: Spotting the cues

While this may look like a plain Crown Victoria, the following pieces of equipment quickly ID this as a fully-prepared and in-service 2009 Police Interceptor:

Steel wheels with chrome center hubcaps

Bars between front and rear seats to keep the bad guys in their place

Police antenna on trunk lid

From the rear, this Ford Crown Victoria could be a driven by a worker from your city's water department or by somebody's grandmother. However, these features reveal it to be a cop car:

Short police radio antenna on trunk

Rear-facing radar

Light flashers in rear window

Government license plate

Police Interceptor badge

Now You Know

Now you know how to spot an unmarked police car. Use your knowledge wisely.

Source: Autos AOL

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