It used to be pretty easy to pick out the pork. If you noticed a refrigerator white Ford Crown Vic up ahead – without AARP stickers on the bumper and with a bullet-headed driver – it was time to ease off the gas and fade into the crowd. The Dodge Charger was – and still is – another car to always be suspicious of.
Both were- and still are – pretty easy to ID, especially the Vic (which almost no one except the ancient or the oinky drive) but chiefly because they are sedans and sedans have become much less common than they used to be as crossovers and SUVs have become the “car” of choice for most Americans.
If you haven’t noticed this, you’d better start paying attention. The new vehicles of choice for revenue collection are SUVs like the Ford Explorer, which has replaced the Crown Vic as the primary Blue Oval tool of mobile taxation. Ford doesn’t refer to it as the Explorer. It is styled the Police Interceptor Utility. Among other upgrades – at our expense – it is equipped with “level III and IV” ballistic door panels, as well as the usual cop-specific hardware upgrades.
Check it out, here.
The version to be especially concerned about is the one equipped with the twin-turbo, 365 hp 3.5 liter V6 and AWD. This one can make up the difference between you and a light-the-wig-wags/pull a U-turn hot pursuit much more quickly than the soggy 250 hp Vic. And because the Police Interceptor Utility is equipped with AWD and has ground clearance, it can go places and handle conditions the Vic couldn’t.
Like grass. Be aware of this if you’re on a bike. Officer less-than-friendly can follow you off-road. Might be lurking off-road. I live near the Blue Ridge Parkway in Virginia – patrolled by federal Park Pork. They use the Ford SUV now.
It’s no longer safe to assume the swine are in their pen due to inclement weather. They have all-weather hooves now.
They also blend in far more effectively, because ordinary Explorers (and other SUVs and crossovers) are everywhere and driven by pretty much everyone. You see a white one up ahead with a young guy driving. He might be an armed government worker. Or he might just be a young guy.
Do you feel lucky?
Also, the ones we need to worry about are often camouflaged. Not just unmarked. With few exterior give-aways that it’s canned pork. The wig wags are built sneakily into the grillwork and are unnoticeable until the bullet-head switches them on. Stuff you used to be able to spot at a distance such as radar equipment is – like all electronic stuff – smaller now than it used to be and hard to see unless you’re right up close, by which time it is too late.
Even marked “units” are much more stealthy. Ambush predators know the value of blending in, so flashy graphics are giving way to matte-finish Harass and Collect stickers you can barely see, even if close and not at all if you’re 50 yards away (well within radar gun range). Exterior roof rack lights are “low profile” – almost flush-mounted – and very hard to pick out from a distance, in a crowd.
It’s dirty pool, old man.
State, county and city governments are hungrier than ever for “revenue” – our money, taken by force – but it has become politically difficult to raise “revenue” directly, by overt tax increases. Traffic tickets, on the other hand, are a handy way to bulk up the budget – and can be imposed randomly and arbitrarily – which gives people the illusion they aren’t going to be the ones paying.
This is the best kind of tax, from the point of view of those imposing (and collecting) it. Cater to people’s moral indifference to the abuse of their fellow man.
The problem with that thinking is that virtually everyone is vulnerable to being today’s fish in the barrel. Everyone “speeds” – because speed limits are set absurdly low. And if it’s not “speeding,” then they’ll get you for some other thing. The roster of “violations” is almost infinite at this point.
If a cop decides to ticket you, he is going to find something to ticket you for.
Well, what can we do? Play the same dirty pool, right back at ’em.
In my state – Virginia – radar detectors are illegal. So of course I have one. (I use the Valentine 1, which is a top-shelf unit that has saved me thousands of dollars in tickets and insurance mafia “surcharges.”)
It is actually better for me that radar detectors are illegal, because it gives me the advantage. Cops assume most people don’t have them, and so run their radar constantly rather than use Instant On mode, which takes more effort.
They key, regardless, is avoidance. In states where radar detectors are legal (everywhere except VA) always try to have someone else in front of you. This will protect you from Instant On, much in the same way that being second-in-line behind the guy walking point in Vietnam saved you from an AK-47 round right between the eyes.
And be wary of SUVs, especially Ford SUVs.
There are still some giveaways: Deep-tint windows (they’re entitled; this is forbidden to us) and black-painted steel (not aluminum alloy) wheels, which are police-specific.
Watch out for Chevy Tahoes, too.
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