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Detroit’s Donated Police Cars Have Safety Issues

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Detroit’s business leaders donated $8 million to the police department and fire department in order to buy new vehicles. However, the police department encountered safety issues with these cars. The Plexiglass partition separating front and back seats is easily breached. This is potentially dangerous because prisoners usually sit in the back. The front passenger seat is also installed too close to the dashboard. If there is an accident, the dashboard can render airbags more dangerous and make the officers more vulnerable.


Although it is not clear that which model is flawed, we all know there are only three major models the police department in the US uses now: the Chevrolet Caprice, the Dodge Charger, and the Ford Taurus. I think it is interesting the three models being used are being produced by the Detroit 3 and at least one of them is not doing their job. I have driven both Caprice and Charger and both of them have plenty of driver and passenger seat room(Charger has better passenger seat room but limited head room in the back), I don’t really know about Ford Taurus so someone please help me out here. But fortunately at least one of the two problems is easy to fix. The Plexiglass problem just need an extra layer of grating over the Plexiglass and it would be much harder to break (I think).



  1. heardd16

    The relationship between cars and the police force is interesting and something we have not discussed very much in class. I am reminded of the Lexington Police (LexPo) who use the Dodge Charger. In Detroit which is plagued by so much crime, I understand the need for high performance vehicles to thwart crime. However, I wonder why Lexington uses tax payer dollars to buy high performance vehicles to bust fraternity parties and the occasional town drunk or druggie.

    May 15, 2014
  2. Jier Qiu
    Jier Qiu

    To Moody, I think nowadays an RWD V8 large sedan is a standard police vehicle for most states in America. Even back in the days most police crown vics had V8 engine and rear wheel drive. Any police force needs the type of car that can handle different scenarios. And LexPo does go out into the country. And I have seen LexPo busting a speeding vehicle on Lee highway. If he was driving a Prius it would be difficult for him to do his job.

    May 15, 2014
  3. Peter Wittwer
    Peter Wittwer

    I agree with Jier, it’s important police have fast and powerful cars to be able to be ready for all situations. It’ll be interesting to see as fuel efficient technology continues to develop such as extremely fast and powerful electric/hybrid vehicles (BMW i8, Tesla) if police cars will start to become more environmentally friendly.

    May 15, 2014
  4. Kade Kenlon
    Kade Kenlon

    It makes sense that the business leaders in Detroit donated 8 million dollars to improve the police force. The city is in really bad shape and making a comeback will likely start with a police force that can strictly enforce the laws. When we met with representatives of the Fed in Detroit, they told us that at one point in 2013 there were only 10 police cars on the road!

    May 16, 2014
  5. Louisa Ortiz
    Louisa Ortiz

    I’m sorry if this is a silly question but I don’t really know anything about police cars. When making a police car out of say your everyday Dodge Charger do they rearrange the inside as much as the seats too? Or would the passenger seat in this vehicle be too close to the dashboard in your everyday version as well?

    May 16, 2014
  6. My hunch is that the plexiglas limits how far back a seat can go. Now some cars have two-stage airbags on the passenger side, but maybe not all. Still, it’s better than no airbag!
    Police cars typically have different suspensions, high-end tires, radios and lights and noisemakers, probably special (rear) door locks and stronger windows. I’m sure a bit of internet research might find a systematic discussion and specs for local police forces, since in many localities purchases would be via a formal public bid procedure.

    May 19, 2014

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