Virtually every country on earth has several police departments and ministries with the sole aim of maintaining law and order and keeping the peace.
And to achieve this, the police require special vehicles known as police cars or cop cars used for patrolling, chasing and quick response to incidents.
Whether in movies or in real life, police cars appear to be faster than the average normal cars, especially during chases.
In this article, we look at the facts while also supplying some details for clarity.
Here’s the Short Answer to Whether Police Cars Are Faster Than Normal Cars:
Generally, police cars are faster than normal cars, and this is especially true for the ones specifically designated for criminal pursuits and chases. Many police departments have specially tuned cars that allow them to perform hot pursuits of criminals and arrive at emergencies on time.
How Fast Can Normal Police Cars Go?
Most police cars can apparently go as far as 150-155 miles per hour, which is more than the average speed of a modern car (120 mph).
Examples of police cars with these speed capabilities include the Dodge Charger, Chevy Caprice, and Ford Police Interceptor utility.
However, countries like the United Arab Emirates, Italy, Japan, and the Netherlands have cop cars that max out at 180-250 miles per hour.
Are Police Cars’ Speed Limited?
Generally, the speed of police cars is limited by the particular cars themselves.
For instance, if the cop car maxes out at 120 mph, then that’s the top limit for the car. However, since the police are to maintain law and order, one would expect them to set an example and stay within the speed limit.
However, when the police are chasing down a suspect or criminal, they’d probably disregard the limit.
Now, this only happens because of the sensitivity of the situation. Otherwise, police cars are expected to conform to the general speed limit in the area.
Do Police Cars Have Faster Engines?
According to the McNally institute, most police cars have what is called engine tuning, which basically shores up their performances. This would enable them to be on track to outrun most civilian cars if need be.
In the same regard, most police cars have V6 engines, while some have V8 engines. V8 engines churn out a great deal of power and acceleration but have a terrible fuel economy. V6 engines are more balanced with better fuel economy and good-enough power.
And these engines are usually not like every other engine out there. They are often supported by bigger batteries and alternators, whilst also sporting inbuilt features that help them produce more power than other engines.
One reason for the bigger batteries and alternators is that police cars feature specialized equipment, such as radios, laptops and other surveillance gadgets, which draw a huge amount of power.
We have more here about how police cars are different.
Do Police Cars Have V8 Engines?
According to our research, only a few police cars actually use V8 engines. This is largely because of the V8’s notoriety for having a poor fuel economy. V8’s appear to sacrifice economics for more power and speed.
Hence, the majority of police cars use a V6 engine for the perfect mix of power and fuel efficiency.
Are Police Cars Modified to Go Faster?
Police cars are not the same as normal cars because they go through a lot of wear and tear daily. From hot pursuits to patrolling to quick responses in dire situations, police cars do a lot more work than regular cars.
This is exactly why auto manufacturers sauce police cars with some irregular and rare modifications for speed, preserved efficiency, and durability. They often have more responsive suspension, longer idling threshold and better cooling systems.
However, as we mentioned before, most of these so-called speed modifications are handled by the manufacturers during production.
The one speed modification that most police departments often implement is getting an expert cop driver that can drive the cars safe and super fast when necessary.
What Other Modifications Are Made on Police Cars’?
Police cars are not only modified for speed; they are also modified for durability and criminal apprehension, amongst many others. Let’s look at some of these modifications.
1. Super Alternators
Virtually every car has a component known as an alternator. What the alternator does is to get some energy from the car’s engine and convert said energy into electricity to keep the lights on with the car.
Now, police cars, besides regular lights, need to crank out energy for sirens and other electrical equipment. So, they use upgraded alternators that can cop over 200 amps. Meanwhile, the average civilian vehicle alternator barely cranks out 100 amps.
2. Upgraded Cooling System
No car can be called “complete and efficient” without a cooling system. However, given the amount of work/stress police vehicles have to deal with, they need more than just the regular cooling system for normal cars.
That’s exactly why we have modified cooling systems comprising bigger fans, modded radiators, and a cooler for the power steering.
3. Beefed-Up Suspension and Brakes
Suspension and brakes are among the vital components of every vehicle, whether it is for the police or civilians. Imagine driving a car without brakes? Cataclysmic consequences, right? Exactly.
For police vehicles, however, it is not enough to just have the regular suspension and brakes in place. When you consider all the maneuvers and criminal pursuits they have to spearhead, these components have to be upgraded ones.
That includes larger and firmer brakes, shocks and stabilizer bars, sturdier springs, amongst others. These are considered essential modifications to active cop vehicles.
4. Special Back Seats
If you call the cops on someone committing a crime, odds are they will speed down there in a car and put the criminal in the back. Of course, the back seat where the criminal(s) will be can’t be the regular backseat in civilian cars.
These back seats are uniquely designed to contain apprehended criminals and suspects safely and without a chance to escape. In many police cars, for instance, there are so-called prisoner cages that partition the front seats and the rear seats.
5. Special Radios
Most police vehicles come modified with special radios, which helps strengthen communication channels for the police. If you’ve ever been pulled over by a cop, you’d know how important the radios are for police communication.
Also, during pursuits, radios are arguably as important as speed in ensuring a suspect doesn’t get away.
6. Special Police Bumpers
Most police vehicles have a specially designed guard mounted right at the front of the car. They can be very effective in getting cars off the road during traffic. With just a simple nudge from the rear, the special bumper can help bounce speeding cars off the road.
Also, the design is such that it aids speed and maneuverability and helps the police catch up with fleeing vehicles.
7. Modded Trunks and Panels
The trunks and other panels on some police cars can be modified and redesigned as a vehicular weapons locker. These weapons are often top-shelf weapons that are only deployed during escalated situations and have to be safeguarded when not in use.
8. Special Paint Schemes
This is perhaps the most obvious modification to police vehicles and varies by district.
Most police vehicles have distinct color schemes that immediately give away their law enforcement status. And that’s for good reason, as it helps set apart police cars from regular civilian cars.
In the United States, the most popular color scheme for cop cars is the black and white.
9. Run-Lock Ignition
Like we’ve mentioned before, police officers often have to keep their vehicles idle while on duty. A modification known as the Run-Lock ignition helps with that, as it keeps the engine idling even when there is no key.
This means police officers can carry out necessary activities like inspecting crime scenes while keeping their engines idle.
10. Intelligent Lighting
It’s common knowledge that police cars have different kinds of lighting, including sirens. Some lights on the inside of the car have an intelligent feature that can switch from white to red.
If you are asking why, well, the answer is this: at night, red light is better than white light for human vision. Basically, the flexible lights make it much easier for the cops to read licenses and documents.