The car that replaces walking for the ‘beat’ police officer.Their primary function is to convey normal police officers between their duties (such as taking statements or visiting warnings). Patrol cars are also able to respond to emergencies,and as such are normally fitted with visual and audible warnings.
A response car is similar to a patrol car, but is likely to be of a higher specification, capable of higher speeds, and will certainly be fitted with audible and visual warnings. These cars are usually only used to respond to emergency incidents, so are designed to travel fast, and may carry specialist equipment, such as assault rifles, or shotguns.
Some police forces use vehicles (or sometimes fake “cut outs” of vehicles) to deter crime. They may be old vehicles retired from use, stock models restyled as police cars, or a metal sign made to look like a police car. They are placed in areas thought to be susceptible to crime in order to provide a high visibility presence without committing an officer. Examples of these can be seen on many main roads, freeways and motorways. In 2005, Virginia’s (United States) legislature considered a bill which stated, in part: “Whenever any law-enforcement vehicle is permanently taken out of service … such vehicle shall be placed at a conspicuous location within a highway median in order to deter violations of motor vehicle laws at that location. Such vehicles shall … be rotated from one location to another as needed to maintain their deterrent effect.Such cars may also be used in conjunction with manned units hidden further down the road to trick speeders into speeding back up again, and being clocked by the manned car. In Chicago, Illinois a small fleet of highly visible vans are parked alongside major state and federal routes with automated speed detection and camera equipment, monitoring both for speeders and other offenders by license plate. Tickets are then mailed to the offenders or, in case of other crimes related to the licensed owner, may be served by a manned vehicle further down the road.