Tag: Police

By on July 12, 2018

autonomous hardware

Autonomous vehicles have created an endless series of unanswerable questions. As the technology continues to advance, decisions on how best to implement it have not. We’ve yet to discern who is liable in the event of an accident, how insurance rules would change, if they can coexist effectively with traditional automobiles, how they will impact vehicle ownership in the long term, and the infrastructure necessary to ensure they’ll function as intended.

There’s also a myriad of security concerns involving everything from the very real prospect of vehicle hacking to automakers selling the personal information of drivers. Both of those topics are about to come to a head as automakers continue shifting toward connected vehicles.

In March, the U.S. Transportation Department met with auto industry leaders, consumer advocacy groups, labor unions, and others in an attempt to navigate the minefield that is autonomous integration. The department previously hosted similar roundtable discussions in December after releasing the new federal guidance for automated driving systems, called “A Vision for Safety 2.0.” That guidance freed up automakers and tech firms to test self-driving vehicles with fewer regulatory hurdles to cope with.

However, the December report seemed to focus mainly on how little everyone outside the industry understands the new technology. (Read More…)

By on May 16, 2018

Chevy Tahoe PPV

Government surplus is a weird thing. Sometimes, the vehicles churned out of the federal machine are used up like old newspapers. Others have few (we’ve seen as low as 18) miles on their odometers. Pretending to even fathom the purchasing process is an exercise in futility.

But the Ace of Base shopper cares not one whit, as he or she is simply after one thing: the deal. Cop cars are, by nature, sparsely equipped versions of civilian units.

(Read More…)

By on May 10, 2018

Image: FCA

Once upon a time, fearsome variants of conservative full-size sedans roamed America’s highways en masse in search of speeders and felons, but the emergence of the SUV as the preferred tool of law enforcement relegated the traditional four-door car to the back of the pack.

It’s no wonder why Ford had no problem ditching the Taurus. Some 80 percent of the automaker’s police fleet orders specify the Police Interceptor Utility — a butched-up Explorer — instead of its sedan stablemate. Chevrolet’s Tahoe PPV offers law enforcement a more rugged SUV option.

Not wanting to be left behind in the switch to high-riding cop cars, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles has debuted a competitor — the Dodge Durango Pursuit. (Read More…)

By on March 3, 2018

We’re not capable of brilliance 24 hours a day. The mind demands rest, nourishment, stimulation. And old cars. Wonderful, alluring, Eisenhower-era cars.

As sleep doesn’t come easily for yours truly, you’ll often find a YouTube window open on my computer late at night. Sometimes its comedy, sometimes it’s tornado videos, and more often than not — lately, especially — it’s syndicated reruns of an old show some nice fellow uploaded to the net. It’s not a groundbreaking, award-winning show. It’s not high-minded. There’s no identity politics. Complex plotlines and witty dialogue? Get the hell outta here, pal.

No, the sole appeal of Highway Patrol (1955-1959) is the cars. (That, and identifying the scenes where: (a) actor Broderick Crawford is drunk, and (b) Crawford doesn’t have a driver’s license.)

Smog-blanketed southern California in the late Fifties. Could there be a more glamorous locale? (Read More…)

By on February 14, 2018

2000 BMW X5

Earlier this week, the driver of a 2003 BMW X5 called 911 to inform the operator that he was speeding and wouldn’t be able to stop. The motorist, one Joseph Cooper, explained to the operator “my gas pedal is stuck” as his SUV barreled down a Florida interstate at around 100 miles an hour. Officers were dispatched to the highly mobile scene on Monday at 1:00 p.m. and ultimately decided to halt Cooper’s progress using stop sticks.

BMW is calling bullshit on his runaway vehicle claims, and we’re inclined to agree. There were loads of things the driver could have done to stop the vehicle but, based on portions of his call with 911, he was either unwilling or incapable of performing those tasks.  (Read More…)

By on February 8, 2018

dallas squad car hammered

Earlier this week a man wielding a sledgehammer walked into the Dallas Police Department’s motorpool and started swinging. The city’s Police Association claims the man wailed on 12 cars at the Central Division station on South Hall Street in Deep Ellum at roughly 5:20 in the morning on February 4th.

The man, 58-year-old Gregory Simpson, apparently entered the police station parking lot through an unsecured gate and started hitting the first police car in sight. By the time he was stopped, he’d caused an estimated $4,900 in damage. Had he not focused primarily on windshields, that figure probably could have come up a bit. But, as breaking glass is one of life’s simple pleasures, his focus was understandable. Why he chose to vent his frustrations on parked squad cars is not, however. (Read More…)

By on January 26, 2018

Image: Hot Takes 1/26/2018

(TTAC Hot Takes are video roundup posts which will occur whenever we can get Michael Accardi into hair and makeup. These posts are a mandate of our VerticalScope overlords, who are fascinated with the new video medium of YouTube. Watch our other videos here.)

This week, Michael summarizes all the best news bits from January 17th through the 24th, and we highlight some Premium Selects from the B&B comments section.

(Read More…)

By on November 21, 2017

It’s one of the great scenes in modern cinema: Kevin Costner as Eliot Ness and Sean Connery as Malone, the beat cop who requires no proof of Eliot’s claim to be a Treasury Agent because, “Who would claim to be that, who was not?”

Yet there are people who falsely claim to be police, for various and nefarious purposes ranging from to getting a discount on lunch to raping 11 women. This kind of offense is punished with all possible severity, and for the most understandable of reasons: a society where we cannot easily recognize police is a society where enforcement of the law will become increasingly dangerous for all parties involved.

Then you have the crowd that doesn’t want to actually impersonate a cop; rather, they simply want to be briefly “mistaken” for a cop on the freeway, often for no reason other than the petty narcissism of believing they are frightening or impressing fellow motorists. As you’d expect, these people gravitate towards used police cars, which they often retrofit to vaguely resemble undercover or unmarked units. It’s a common enough practice that the Internet has coined a word to define the practitioner: “Wacker.” (Read More…)

By on September 25, 2017

2017-ford-police-interceptor-utility-1lb

If you’ve been reading this site for a while, you might recall the incident nearly four years ago when your humble author managed to collect a Hyundai Sonata in the B-pillar. Both I and the woman in the front passenger seat were nontrivially injured in the crash, but the months and years of pain and surgery afterwards were made considerably easier to bear by the fact that my son, who was sitting in the right rear seat, escaped injury. I cannot tell you what I would have done or how I would have felt if he had been injured or killed.

Five months ago, a woman in Albuquerque made a left-hand turn across a busy urban intersection. As she did so, her Ford Escape was struck by a police car traveling at nearly 70 miles per hour. The six-year-old boy in the right rear seat was killed.

After a comprehensive investigation, the county sheriff has recommended that no charges be filed against either the driver of the Ford Escape or the officer who struck the vehicle. Their rationale for that recommendation is easy to see and there’s no reason to Monday-morning quarterback a crash with a result this tragic. We should, however, be talking about the circumstances that made that crash not only possible but likely.

(Read More…)

By on July 27, 2017

Texting and Driving

The state of New York is preparing to study the use of a device known as a “textalyzer” that would allow police to determine whether a motorist involved in a serious crash was texting while driving. Governor Andrew Cuomo announced Wednesday that he was encouraging the Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee to examine the technology’s usefulness, as well as the privacy and constitutional questions it could raise.

Named to be intentionally reminiscent of the breathalyzer, likely for marketing purposes, the textalyzer is framed by its designers as a device intended to identify whether a driver was interacting with their phone prior to a serious crash. However, there’s technically nothing stopping others from using this technology during a routine traffic stop down the line.

Last year, New York Senator Terrence Murphy and Assembly Assistant Speaker Felix Ortiz partnered with Distracted Operators Risk Casualties (DORC) to propose a bill that would allow authorities to examine phones at an accident site. The move created a backlash from digital privacy advocates, who believe the device is an invasion of personal liberties. Governor Cuomo has been supportive of the DORC in the past and has made the elimination of distracted driving a personal project.  (Read More…)

By on July 5, 2017

squad car police

It’s estimated that roughly 28 people are killed every day as a result of drivers intoxicated on alcohol. In 2015, 10,265 people died in alcohol-related incidents, accounting for nearly one-third of all motor vehicle fatalities within the United States. However, the Department of Transportation shows the number of deaths associated with drunk driving trending downward since 2007. Likewise, the number of annual self-reported alcohol-impaired driving episodes recorded by the CDC have diminished to record lows in that same timeframe — and so have arrests.

Law enforcement likely played an important role. Police departments take drunk driving seriously and decades of aggressive actions have made the risks involved less than appetizing to even those whose judgement is clouded by booze. But as alcohol-related arrests have plummeted, drug-related arrests have gone up.

While much of this can be attributed to drunk drivers who decided to double-down with marijuana, drugs are estimated to be a factor in 16 percent of motor vehicle crashes where alcohol isn’t present. This has resulted in some police departments implementing special task forces designated to identify and arrest “drugged drivers.” But there is a problem — officers in Georgia have been arresting innocent people.  (Read More…)

By on April 25, 2017

[Image: IMCDB]

Never mind muscle cars and sexy Italian exotics. Nothing sparks atrial fibrillation in the hearts of motorists like seeing a black-and-white Ford Interceptor, Dodge Charger or Chevrolet Tahoe parked by the roadside up ahead.

Your chest tightens. Your eyes dart to the speedometer in the hopes of finding a reading that’s somewhere in the neighborhood of “sedate.” More often than not, you suddenly find yourself as the commanding officer in charge of Operation Slow Down Without Brake Lights or Nosedive.

When outfitted with heavy duty components, hidden armament and a healthy does of The Law, a normal sedan you’d never look twice at in the Ponderosa parking lot transforms into the most menacing vehicle on the road. Some do it better than others. (Read More…)

By on March 28, 2017

enzo ferari

Italian investigators said on Tuesday that they had prevented a criminal plot to steal the body of automotive legend and Formula One racing pioneer Enzo Ferrari. The scheme involved using two cars and a van, breaking into San Cataldo cemetery, absconding with the corpse, and then holding it for ransom.

Just imagine the incredible movie that would have resulted from the heist had the police not immediately foiled the plan. It would have equal parts The Italian Job and Weekend at Bernie’s.

Così buono.  (Read More…)

By on March 28, 2017

press02-model-x-front-three-quarter

A Tesla Model X driving in semi-autonomous Autopilot mode rear-ended a police motorcycle last week, according to The Arizona Republic.

The incident happened on March 21, when both vehicles stopped at a traffic light after exiting a freeway in Phoenix. The Tesla stopped “briefly” before it began to move forward again. The officer managed to bail before the Tesla bumped the bike.

No damage was reported on either vehicle, since the officer estimated the Model X was only going three miles per hour.  (Read More…)

By on October 4, 2016

2017 Ford Police Interceptor Utility

One of the late Ford Crown Victoria’s best attributes was its unique turn signal/parking lamps, which, when viewed in a rear-view mirror, alerted savvy drivers to the possibility that there could be a police officer on their tail. Or a retiree. Either way, best to slow down, pardner.

Today, drivers don’t have that luxury of instant nighttime recognition, and police forces and suppliers are increasingly making it harder to distinguish a lurking cop car during the day. Well, Ford has now brought the stealthiness to another level. (Read More…)

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