Why does the Patrol use an identified vehicle? Wouldn’t patrolling in an unmarked car be more effective?

  • Crime deterrence is a major function of the Patrol. Research in criminology indicates that high visibility of police is a leading factor, perhaps THE leading factor, in preventing crime. It’s important that criminals see that we have a Patrol and know that it is manned by REAL police.
  • The marked vehicle gives our officers immediate credibility when they pull over to investigate a suspicious situation or individual. It states on the vehicle, “Off-Duty POLICE, Authorized & Equipped.” The emergency lights, police horn and megaphone have been useful on many occasions when officers have approached suspicious persons or provided safety at car accidents, disabled vehicles, trees down in the road, etc.
  • Originally, when the officers patrolled in private vehicles and pulled into a member’s driveway to investigate something or to make a vacation patrol, neighbors frequently called 911 to report a suspicious vehicle in the driveway next door. This wasted police resources, reducing overall security.
  • The Patrol does not operate 24/7, and we cannot aspire to replace the emergency responsibilities of the County and City police forces. Instead, our mission is to provide deterrence and prevent crime. Criminals must be able to see the officers to recognize that there is a bona fide police presence in the neighborhood, to realize that when an alarm is triggered or someone calls, there are real police already in the area whose sole mission is to respond immediately and protect the neighborhood.