Bet your life they must catch bad guys

The Sunday Telegraph (Sydney) - - NEWS - JOSHUA DOWLING

THERE will soon be two new cars to look out for when you’re driv­ing, with the ar­rival of BMW and Chrysler high­way pa­trol cars. Any­thing that keeps dodgy driv­ers guess­ing is a good thing in my book.

We’ve had bud­get-priced, world-class performance sedans for al­most 50 years, so re­plac­ing these cars was never go­ing to be easy.

Po­lice as­sessed 17 ve­hi­cles over the past three years so the high­way pa­trol fleet didn’t grind to a halt once Fal­cons and Com­modores reached their re­tire­ment age.

While much of the em­pha­sis is on performance, big­ger brakes are ac­tu­ally a high­way pa­trol of­fi­cer’s best friend, given the de­mands of get­ting to ur­gent life-threat­en­ing jobs.

Both these cars have sim­i­lar ac­cel­er­a­tion but bet­ter stop­ping power than the ve­hi­cles they re­place, more tech­nol­ogy than ever be­fore and, in the case of the BMW, it uses half the fuel of the big V8s.

They may cost more to buy, but once run­ning costs and re­sale val­ues are cal­cu­lated, po­lice say the cost to tax­pay­ers will be about the same.

Any­one who doesn’t un­der­stand why we need cars like this doesn’t un­der­stand the job of mod­ern high­way pa­trol of­fi­cers. Armed with new tech­nol­ogy their role has ex­panded. The cars are bet­ter able to de­tect ve­hi­cles driven by crim­i­nals, and they are of­ten first to the scene of vi­o­lent crimes and life-threat­en­ing in­ci­dents.

To those who say “why aren’t they out there catch­ing real crim­i­nals?”, the re­al­ity is they are.

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