How Fast Do Police Cars Go?

by Tom King

Next time you look in the rear view mirror and spot those flashing lights bearing down purposefully on you, you will want to ignore that urge to romp on the gas pedal, open up that big dual-quad carb and give "the man" a run for his money. "The man," it turns out has all the power he needs to catch you, not to mention that you can't outrun police helicopters. That said, just how fast do cop cars go?

Types of Police Cars

Three types of police vehicles make up the law enforcement fleet in the United States--police pursuit vehicles (PPV's), special service vehicles (SSV's) and special service Packages (SSP's). The PPV is also called a cruiser or interceptor and has plenty of power to spare for chasing bad guys. SSV's include vans and SUV's used for special purposes, rough terrain or for transporting prisoners and are seldom used in pursuits. SSP's are often special package sports cars used on freeways where sudden bursts of power are often needed to overhaul speeders that have built up a full head of steam out on those long flat, lonely stretches of Interstate highway.

Ford Crown Victoria

Ford Motor Company's venerable Crown Victoria P71 police interceptor package for 2009 comes with a 4.6 liter modified Ford V8. The 250 horsepower P71 is sturdy, reliable and fast, producing 297 lb.-ft. of torque for impressive acceleration. The P71's are electronically limited to 120 mph, for the 3:55:1 rear axle ration version and 135 mph for the 3:27:1 rear axle ratio. In acceleration tests conducted by the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department, Ford's two 2006 Crown Vic PPV's, the 3.27 and 3.55 liter V8's tested at 8.44 and 8.58 seconds going from 0 to 60 mph respectively. The two Ford's had a top speed of 128 and 120 mph due to the electronic speed limiting that the P71 uses to protect the vehicle's rear end and transmission.

Dodge Charger

The 2009 Dodge Charger police package is a rear wheel drive sedan powered by a 368 horsepower Hemi V8 engine generating 395 lb.--ft. of torque. The Charger PPV package tested out at a top speed of 146 mph and took 8.63 seconds to accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in LA County's acceleration tests.

Chevy Impala

The 2006 Chevrolet Impala police cruiser package comes with a 3.9 liter (237 cu in) V6 and accelerated from 0 to 60 in 8.43 seconds in the LA County tests. The Impala took the second highest speed marks of the three most popular cruisers at 140 mph running full out.

Made for Speed

All that acceleration and speed comes in specially designed bodies and frames that are strengthened with extra suspension, reinforced doors, passenger cabins and steering that is built to tolerate sustained high speeds, rough terrain and hard usage. The police departments don't like to tell you how fast the Mustangs, Camaros, Corvettes and Magnums will go, but if the standard squad cars are any indication, bad guys probably shouldn't run from them either.

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