Wednesday, August 14, 2013

State Police to put 24 'low profile' cars on the highway to nab violators

Posted By on Wed, Aug 14, 2013 at 9:24 AM

LOW PROFILE: New cars arent marked with State Police logos on drivers side.
  • David Goins/Fox 16
  • LOW PROFILE: New cars aren't marked with State Police logos on driver's side.

A word of warning to motorists:

The State Police has purchased 24 "low profile" patrol cars for use in highway patrol around the state — two for each of the 12 troops. (I'll have a photo shortly.)

What does that mean?

“Low profile patrol cars are not what a driver might normally recognize as a State Police vehicle,” said Colonel Stan Witt, Director of the Arkansas State Police. “Rather than the standard white car body with a blue emergency light on the roof, motorists may notice different colored cars with emergency lighting fitted under the brim of the front windshield.”

The intention in the choice of color, removing the exterior emergency lighting and markings on one side make the cars better suited for blending into traffic, allowing State Troopers a better opportunity to witness more violations.

“Experience has demonstrated that flagrant violators typically are scanning traffic looking for the common markings of an Arkansas State Police patrol car,” said Major J.R. Hankins, commander of the Highway Patrol Division (western region). “Simply stated, we’re trying to change what a violator might be looking for and be in a better position to document the violation before initiating the traffic stop.”


These were bought with a federal grant. Each car cost $23,588, plus $19,938 in added law enforcement equipment, or about $43,526 total. The State Police used some similar cars, but fewer, some years ago.

Full release, including some details on procedures so motorists will now stops are being initiated by real police, follows.

NEWS RELEASE

The Arkansas State Police has deployed new enforcement tools designed to help State Troopers succeed in their mission to make Arkansas highways safer.

Twenty-four low profile patrol cars were assigned today to the State Police Highway Patrol Division. Each of the twelve State Police Troops received two of the unconventional patrol cars to be used along with the conventional patrol units already assigned to the State Police fleet.

The new cars are of different colors, equipped the same as a conventional patrol car, but absent of a roof-mounted bar light and marked only on the passenger’s side with the familiar State Police star and blue stripe.

“Low profile patrol cars are not what a driver might normally recognize as a State Police vehicle,” said Colonel Stan Witt, Director of the Arkansas State Police. “Rather than the standard white car body with a blue emergency light on the roof, motorists may notice different colored cars with emergency lighting fitted under the brim of the front windshield.”

The intention in the choice of color, removing the exterior emergency lighting and markings on one side make the cars better suited for blending into traffic, allowing State Troopers a better opportunity to witness more violations.

“Experience has demonstrated that flagrant violators typically are scanning traffic looking for the common markings of an Arkansas State Police patrol car,” said Major J.R. Hankins, commander of the Highway Patrol Division (western region). “Simply stated, we’re trying to change what a violator might be looking for and be in a better position to document the violation before initiating the traffic stop.”

Using low profile patrol cars is nothing new for the State Police. During 1999 and 2000 the department purchased Chevrolet Camaros and Impalas in a small scale deployment of low profile patrol cars.

The latest vehicles to be deployed represent the largest fleet of low profile patrol cars the Arkansas State Police has ever had in use at any single time.

A Highway Safety grant from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration was used to purchase the newest cars along with the speed detection radars, emergency lighting and law enforcement communications equipment installed inside the vehicles.

“The public expects a lot from our Troopers who are suppose to stop violators who endanger themselves and others traveling along the state highways,” said Major Shawn Garner, commander of the Highway Patrol Division (eastern region). “It only makes sense that we give them the right tools to do the job.”

Particular caution will be used by Troopers using the low profile patrol vehicles on divided highways.

Whenever safely possible while traveling along a divided highway, a Trooper will move into a position allowing the violator to get a better view of the Trooper and see the right-side markings of the patrol car. The Trooper will then fall back behind the violator to initiate the traffic stop with a blue emergency light across the top interior of the front windshield.

Reasonable consideration will be given to drivers who may be uncertain whether the traffic stop is being executed by a legitimate law enforcement vehicle. These drivers may proceed at a posted speed to the nearest safe location before stopping.

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