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New Houston Police Car Design and Colors

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No more blue and white.


Police Chief McClelland Unveils New Patrol Vehicle Colors

Houston Police Chief Charles A. McClelland, Jr., today (Monday, July 2) unveiled a new image for HPD's patrol vehicle fleet.

HPD's patrol vehicles will soon sport a black and white color scheme. In addition, several vehices of different makes and models are being tested for consideration as a replacement to the current Ford Crown Victoria. The vehicles are the following:

Ford Interceptor

Dodge Charger

Chevrolet Caprice

Chevrolet Tahoe

Photos of the vehicles and the new color scheme are attached to this news release.

Following discussion within and outside HPD, a decision was made to convert the current patrol vehicles to a more traditional black and white color scheme.

Chief McClelland said, "The Ford Crown Victoria is no longer being manufactured so we were forced to look at other options. This was a good opportunity and transition point for us to go to a classic police car and follow professional standards around the country," Chief McClelland added.

It is estimated the conversion for the entire HPD fleet will take about two years. During that time, some patrol vehicles with the orignal blue and white banner will still be in circulation.

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I've been wondering for some time as to why 'domestic' car companies are generally the only ones you see providing PDs with their cruisers. Why not companies such as Toyota or Volkswagen?

Edit: Thanks for posting this, Ed.

Edited by Simbha

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For the most part, police departments wanted rear-wheel drive cars. They feel they can take more abuse (driving over curbs, high-speed potholes, etc) than FWD cars. Plus easier to repair. And in general, for the last several years only the domestics have sold RWD cars (Crown Vic, Caprice, Charger) or full-size utilities (Tahoes, Explorers).

Whether or not those reasons are valid is open to interpretation. Ford is gambling on this with their new Interceptor based on the fwd Taurus. Plus European countries have used fwd for years. Only time will tell if it catches on here.

Didn't Bellaire use to have Volvo's as their police cruisers?

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Westover Hills PD, a wealthy Fort Worth suburb similar to the Villages, used to run Volvos. They appear to be in Crown Vics now.

I'll miss the Oiler blue striped police cruisers. They were unique without being over the top. Interestingly, the white cruiser with the blue stripe was adopted because the totally blue cruiser from the 70s and 80s was too expensive to paint. I find it hard to believe that a vinyl stripe on either side of a car is that expensive, but certainly the black and whites will still be noticeable.

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I'm guessing we'll still have to put up with the Stealth Freeway Brigade as well...

T.G.F. Cobra

2604662252_662b3d0fe8.jpg

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Why only domestic? Perhaps it has something to do with helping out the economy. Something along those lines...

I wonder why they are changing color schemes in the first place...

Will it be easier for the Zetas (or other gang) to impersonate HPD vehicles with such a simple and common color scheme?

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I remember seeing a white and blue cruiser for the first time. The cop said that they couldn't get them in Columbia blue anymore.

The Caprice is RWD, whereas the Interceptor appears to be AWD (standard). Chevy offering a V-6 & V-8 options, whereas Ford offers several V-6 options.

Remember those Chrysler LaBarons? Those things would haul-ass, sounding pretty cool when they got down on it.

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Why only domestic? Perhaps it has something to do with helping out the economy. Something along those lines...

Dude - read. I answered this in the 3rd post. Cops always liked rwd cars. Name an import rwd car in the last 20 years.

Toyota - no. Honda - no. Nissan - no. VW - no. I think Hyundai just came out with one in the last couple of years. Other than that, you had to go upmarked to Lexus, Porsche, etc to get rear-wheel drive. And can you imagine HPD trying to justify the need for a LS 400 to the public?

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Name an import rwd car in the last 20 years.

Yeah, my old Boxster was RWD, but there wasn't a lot of room in the back for transporting suspects.

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I remember when they went from Caprice to Crown Vic. The cops complained because the Ford rear end was much lighter, allowing for spinnage and fish-tailing.

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The car companies have to supply a common police platform for all 50 states. While RWD is desirable here in the sunbelt, for rainy & snowy climates RWD is horrible. Fords AWD platform has a definite advantage over RWD or FWD.

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Why only domestic? Perhaps it has something to do with helping out the economy. Something along those lines...

This may be the reason given, but it's not a valid one IMO. Ultimately, "helping out with the economy" can be split into three areas: where parts are manufactured, where assembly takes place, and where profits are disbursed.

  • So-called domestic car companies (Big Three) don't manufacture most of their parts in the US. In fact, I've read that most Asian car manufacturers generally use more US-grown parts than US companies. Not sure about the European brands, but I suspect those are manufactured in Europe, for the most part.

  • Most of the Asian and all the American companies have US-based assembly operations. Again, I'm fairly sure that most European models are imported, however.

  • Profits are a different matter - but that's the case even for American companies. First, you may have foreign investors (yes, even in US companies). Second, most of the big car companies (US, Asian and European) are multi-national conglomerates with complex legal structures (and, thus, tax implications). I'm not sure that profit disbursement can legitimately be used as an argument for US-based corporations, as I suspect most people outside the top management of these companies have no idea what their allocation and disbursement structures look like. (Admittedly, this goes for 'foreign' manufacturers too.)

I suspect that this reason - helping the national economy - was originally given at a time when this was true, but I don't see any evidence that its validity perpetuates.

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I will miss the blue and white colors; that's been the color scheme of HPD since the 50s at least, I think.

Interesting that cost was cited as a factor for dropping the old 2-tone paint jobs in favor of basic white with lettering. Surely it's got to be more expensive to go back to 2-tone plus lettering.

Yes, Bellaire had Volvos for a short time. As I recall, there were reports of complaints from the populace about public servants driving a supposedly upscale car.

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Dude - read. I answered this in the 3rd post. Cops always liked rwd cars. Name an import rwd car in the last 20 years.

Toyota - no. Honda - no. Nissan - no. VW - no. I think Hyundai just came out with one in the last couple of years. Other than that, you had to go upmarked to Lexus, Porsche, etc to get rear-wheel drive. And can you imagine HPD trying to justify the need for a LS 400 to the public?

lol i was repeating simba's question. :)

Yeah, my old Boxster was RWD, but there wasn't a lot of room in the back for transporting suspects.

Shoot first, ask questions later...

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Shoot first, ask questions later...

Well - that's one way to also solve the jail overcrowding problem.

Kill two birds with one stone, so to speak......

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And for LA too...

Wait a minute... what colors does the Dallas PD use????

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  • So-called domestic car companies (Big Three) don't manufacture most of their parts in the US. In fact, I've read that most Asian car manufacturers generally use more US-grown parts than US companies. Not sure about the European brands, but I suspect those are manufactured in Europe, for the most part.

Here are some actual numbers, although they're weighted for sales. The domestic car companies are well over 50% domestic content overall. Honda is the only non-US based carmaker listed with a majority American-made content for vehicles sold in the US. http://blogs.cars.co...automakers.html

You can also look up data for individual models on the NHTSA site (http://www.nhtsa.gov... (AALA) Reports).

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And for LA too...

Wait a minute... what colors does the Dallas PD use????

Dallas went to the black and whites 3 years ago. They used to be a bright blue stripe with "Dallas Police" inside the stripe...somewhat similar to HPD's stripe...on a white car.

Old DPD...

dallas-police-car.jpg?w=300

New DPD...

DPDNewcar1.jpg

Edited by RedScare

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Dallas went to the black and whites 3 years ago. They used to be a bright blue stripe with "Dallas Police" inside the stripe...somewhat similar to HPD's stripe...on a white car.

Old DPD...

dallas-police-car.jpg?w=300

New DPD...

DPDNewcar1.jpg

Gotta say... "New DPD" certainly looks more authoritative...

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Here are some actual numbers, although they're weighted for sales. The domestic car companies are well over 50% domestic content overall. Honda is the only non-US based carmaker listed with a majority American-made content for vehicles sold in the US. http://blogs.cars.co...automakers.html

You can also look up data for individual models on the NHTSA site (http://www.nhtsa.gov... (AALA) Reports).

This shouldn't be a consideration. The concern should be cost and performance. If foreign companies can meet expectations more effectively, then let them. And let domestic companies figure out how to catch up by competing legitimately on a level playing field.

It'd be one thing if the police could operate in a military capacity or if a particular vehicle had too many parts that were manufactured in 'unfriendly' nations. The potential for supply disruptions toward fleet vehicles *should* be a consideration. A minor one.

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Dude - read. I answered this in the 3rd post. Cops always liked rwd cars. Name an import rwd car in the last 20 years.

The big Lexus sedan is RWD, and has a V8. That would be an awesome police car!

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This shouldn't be a consideration. The concern should be cost and performance. If foreign companies can meet expectations more effectively, then let them. And let domestic companies figure out how to catch up by competing legitimately on a level playing field.

It'd be one thing if the police could operate in a military capacity or if a particular vehicle had too many parts that were manufactured in 'unfriendly' nations. The potential for supply disruptions toward fleet vehicles *should* be a consideration. A minor one.

Well I agree that government purchases should be awarded based on merit rather than manufacturer location, and if a better product meets the requirements for less cost, it should be chosen. I know that at the Federal level, exceptions are allowed when buying a domestic product is too expensive, not sufficiently available, etc.

Going back to local police, I'm not sure exactly why they buy domestic vehicles, but my hunch is that the large volume of orders for these vehicles from police units across the country results in parts and equipment being readily available and probably less expensive than retrofitting lesser-used vehicles. Also, the models used by police departments are not the standard consumer models, and foreign automakers may not be as keen on creating and maintaining customized vehicles for this market unless they can grab significant marketshare to justify the investment. Lastly, sticking with the domestics is probably viewed as a safe bet by public officials to keep vocal taxpayers from complaining about sending their tax dollars overseas.

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Well I agree that government purchases should be awarded based on merit rather than manufacturer location, and if a better product meets the requirements for less cost, it should be chosen. I know that at the Federal level, exceptions are allowed when buying a domestic product is too expensive, not sufficiently available, etc.

Going back to local police, I'm not sure exactly why they buy domestic vehicles, but my hunch is that the large volume of orders for these vehicles from police units across the country results in parts and equipment being readily available and probably less expensive than retrofitting lesser-used vehicles. Also, the models used by police departments are not the standard consumer models, and foreign automakers may not be as keen on creating and maintaining customized vehicles for this market unless they can grab significant marketshare to justify the investment. Lastly, sticking with the domestics is probably viewed as a safe bet by public officials to keep vocal taxpayers from complaining about sending their tax dollars overseas.

Exactly.

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Gotta say... "New DPD" certainly looks more authoritative...

As long as HPD's cars look better than dallas PD then I'm ok.

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I was wrong about the Stealth Freeway Brigade.... It's only the Stealth Freeway Squad.

From a HPD blog....

Houston Mayor Annise Parker and Police Chief Charles A. McClelland, Jr. were joined by Houston Texans player Mario Williams yesterday to unveil the Pro Bowl linebacker's donation of five Chevrolet Camaros to HPD's Traffic Enforcement Division.

These new traffic enforcement vehicles will be outfitted to run radar, have low profile lights and ghost writing to allow them to blend in with regular traffic. HPD will use them on and off freeways to enforce traffic violations.

“Ever since Mario came to Houston, he has certainly been a friend to law enforcement and is civic minded and wants to help his community,” said Chief McClelland. “These five Camaros will increase the capabilities of the police department to address speeding, aggressive drivers and ensure the safety of the motoring public. I can’t thank him enough for this generous donation.”

Williams was assisted by Knapp Chevrolet in obtaining the new 2011 police package Chevrolet Camaros for HPD.

camaro.jpg

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The reason you only see American/domestic cars as police cruisers is because the domestic OEMs are the only three who make police packages. If Honda offered an Accord police edition it would certainly be considered. However, there is more required for a police package than just black steelie wheels and a police color scheme: uprated suspension to handle abuse, redundant systems (sometimes dual oil filters, etc.), provisions for installation of aftermarket police equipment like radios, computer, etc., enough space to package all the equipment and still be functional.

Oh, and it has to be cheap.

For example, the police Charger has a column mounted to shifter to accommodate the IP mounted equipment police require. A console shifter woudln't work.

Anyway, these are just some of the considerations that factor in. Couple that with police cars historically being domestic and that's why you don't see Honda/Toyota/etc. wasting their time trying to market a vehicle that they'd have a REALLY tough time selling.

I used to work in automotive in Detroit so just a bit of background for you all.

The car companies have to supply a common police platform for all 50 states. While RWD is desirable here in the sunbelt, for rainy & snowy climates RWD is horrible. Fords AWD platform has a definite advantage over RWD or FWD.

Not true, I lived in Michigan, they run RWD up there as well. The Michigan State Police actually do an annual test (considered the benchmark test of police cars) of all the police package vehicles available and RWD generally always gets the nod as most recommended. If you know how to drive, RWD is just fine in the snow. Having the wheels that provide forward motion not be the same wheels the provide steering is generally preferable.

Edited by TonyM

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I just read an article about this. In order to cut production costs, auto manufacturers are pretty much forcing all police departments into one color scheme. Obviously, a department may choose to repaint the police cruisers any color they want, but in these cost cutting times, departments are also trying to cut costs. Since the black and white is a traditional police cruiser color scheme, manufacturers can go to that scheme and most departments will be OK with it. Outliers are on their own.

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I often see two of those Camaros parked on Crosstimbers, under I-45, with the officers standing in the u-turn lane. I regularly see another one popping people on I-10 eastbound, right after you leave the Spiring Valley city limits, right before the loop...

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