Monday, September 29, 2008

It's got a cop motor, cop tyres, cop suspension, cop shocks....

I had the privilege of going on a police ride along this saturday night - the 10-3 DUI shift with South Jordan police over on the west side of the valley. It was entertaining being in the passenger seat as we pulled over vehicle after vehicle for things like broken tail lights. We caught one DUI. More interesting for me was the vehicle itself and the kit inside. SJCPD have optioned the Dodge Charger Police edition and it is amazing. The one I was in was a V6 and it performed well. It was returning an average 16mpg doing police duty which is pretty good given how they drive and how much extra stuff is crammed into the cars. The handling was good - really good. Not sure if the suspension was stock or upgraded to deal with the rigours of police duty, but we whipped around corners like it was on rails. Brakes were hot, acceleration was hot, steering was hot. Unbelievably it looks like Dodge have managed to make a hot car!

In terms of the police kit - it had the perspex divider between the front and rear seats, the shotgun strapped to the roof, front and rear doppler radar, front camera, light bar, takedown lights, alley lights, front crash bar - the works. There was also a Dell laptop hooked up to the police network. We could tap in a licence plate and it would return the car make and model, spoken in computer synthesised voice, within a couple of seconds. From there we could go to the driver's licence information and it would pull up a copy of the registered driver's photo. The officer used this a few times - when we checked plates randomly and they came back clean, we'd do a driver check to see if the person in the car matched the photo on the licence.
The doppler radar was interesting and we could tell which cars did and didn't have radar detectors. The officer would flick the radar on for a second or so to pull a speed from oncoming vehicles. For the most part they wouldn't change speed, but every now and then, we'd pick someone up doing 60 or more and the instant we pinged them with radar, their speed dropped significantly. On unlit roads, they couldn't tell we were a police car so they must have been using detectors. One guy slowed down as he came towards us, then the office flicked on the rear doppler and watched as the guy sped up once he'd passed us. We flipped around and pulled him over. No DUI that time though.
So the Police Charger. Super hot. And you know how I feel about American cars in general. Frankly, if I was in the market for a new car, I'd have to seriously consider a Charger. Looks great. Performs great.
Thanks to South Jordan PD for the ride-along.

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