How Police Cars Work

Dodge Charger police cars
Two new police cruisers ­on display at the New York City Police Department headquarters. See ­more police pictures.
AP Photo/Mary Altaffer ­­

Most of us have a love/hate relationship with police cars. We hate seeing them in the rear-view mirror when we're going a little too fast on the highway, but they can also be a welcome sight when we're in need of assistance. Officers use police cars for many things: to patrol their beats, to chase suspects, to store their gear, to restrain criminals and even as communications links. Some specialized police vehicles do even more than that.

­But what makes a police car different from other cars on the street? It takes a lot more than just some flashing lights on the roof and a two-way radio. Modern police cars are significantly more rugged than their civilian counterparts, and they hold a battery of high-tech (and low-tech) equipment.­


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From high-

horsepower engines to special restraint systems for unruly crooks, police cars are a breed apart. In this article, we'll find out h­ow they're made, wh­at they're capable of, and what equipment they use to get the job done. We'll also take a look at the history of police cars.