Thursday, March 12, 2009

The Dodge Invasion

When it gets down to the nitty-gritty on things involving hardware (vehicles, radios, lightbars), I'm a little slower on the uptake than I am with software (tactics, planning, resources usage) changes.

To wit: I noticed the first marked LAPD Dodge Charger out on the road last night. Driving home from Hollywood and I saw three LAPD units at a minor TC at a strip mall at the intersection of Highland Avenue and Santa Monica Boulevard. One of the three was a brand-new Charger assigned to West Traffic division, complete with the LED lightbar package.

Apparently, this development has been well documented and the CHP also took delivery of 88 Dodge Chargers early last year for use as unmarked vehicles.

Here's my take: I'm a Ford Crown Victoria kind of guy for LE vehicles. I used to like the Old Chevy Caprice's of the 1980s and 1990s, but have been partial to the Crown Vics for many years now. I liked Fords (ambulances, in my case) when I was on the EMS beat, they never did me wrong. In my youth, I was the proud operator of a number of Dodge Caravan mini-vans and I can say they were a model of the American auto industry's "planned-obsolescence" strategy, and in general, were total piece-of-shit automobiles. In fairness, however, I also remember a particularly lemon-y Ford Escort from the mid 1980s, as well.

As for the Charger, I just think it's too big, boxy and robo-cop for the LAPD. I think they work well for certain highway patrols and "statie" depts. (see here and here), but as the day-to-day workhorse, I'm not a fan.

For that matter, however, I'm not a fan of the LAPD's "new" Harley Davidson motor-units. They look like heavy beasts that the guys would rather be riding up to Sturgis than patrolling the streets of L.A. In fact, I'm partial to bikes like the Yamaha trailing the LAPD unit in the linked pic, or BMW's used by Beverly Hills PD and others.

Anyway, I know these posts wade into the passions of car and cycle fans, but I like what I like.

photo: from flickr, apologies for the cropping distortion.


Anonymous said...


I was over at Piper Tech yesterday and saw one of the Chargers. It happened to have the black spokes with the center dish (emulating the Crown Vic black steely and center dish look). I'd say they look just a tad bit better this way, but the car still hasn't grown on me. This particular Charger also had some trim midway down, across the door line, which differs from the vehicle in your photo.

John Gregory

Code6Charles said...

Hey John,

Yeah, I've seen one or two unmarked LAPD Chargers out and about, which I don't mind at all. They look good as stealth cars. But can't get into the patrol version.