Florida police increase the use of muscle cars disguised as civilians to catch offenders (+ Images)

Florida police increase use of muscle cars
Image Courtesy of Carscoops – Florida Police Increase Use of Muscle Cars

More and more departments florida police are resorting to the use of muscle cars without police identification in order to catch offenders.

“We chase people who are going at excruciating speeds [y] they drive very recklessly,” Sergeant Michael Schade of the St. Petersburg Police Department told WTSP. He added that “they are driving thinking there is not an officer in the area.”

So far, the SPPD has added to its fleet only one unmarked muscle car, a Ford Mustang. But across the bay, the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office says it has about a dozen dodge challengers for civilian patrol in a variety of colors. It started adding pony cars to its fleet in 2019, with a chevrolet camaro. In many cases, departments say they chose V6 muscle car models because they cost about the same as a standard patrol car.

Florida police increase use of disguised muscle cars

Unlike other states, the florida police they face few restrictions on when or how their officers can use unmarked police vehicles. And while departments are increasingly interested in employing the vehicles, there’s very little research on how effective they actually are.

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When asked if unmarked cars are leading to more citations or even setting off more stops than flagged cars, the SPPD said it doesn’t track that kind of information. Instead, he pointed out that the cars are intended for certain types of criminals.

What these unmarked police cars don’t do, according to James Wright II, a professor of police-community relations at Florida State University, is increase public trust in the police.

Image Courtesy of Carscoops – Florida Police Increase Use of Muscle Cars

“It gives the perception that the community is doing something that is not legal,” says Wright. Adding that “he then tells the cops that they also need to be very vigilant when they’re in these unmarked cars, so I think on both ends it can be scary.”


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Growing fear in citizens

On the other hand, there are fears that the use of unmarked police cars makes it easier for bad actors to pose as officers. Last summer, a Tampa man was arrested after pulling over someone in a gray Range Rover equipped with flashing lights.

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In fact, Dic Donohue, a researcher at the RAND Center for Quality Policingposited that without adequate community outreach, the risk of such crimes could increase, as would the risk of people fleeing from police officers for fear of being followed by a copycat.

Police officers such as Corporal sheriff’s office Hillsborough CountyDonald Rizer, seem to see that uncertainty as a feature that creates panopticon-like conditions for drivers where any car could be a cop.

«We went a little outside the boxRizer noted. He also indicated that “this helps us to be in a situation where we can witness things when you say, ‘where is the policeman when you need him,’ well, he could be right next to you.”

Fountain: carscoops

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