Christine Lee, NBC 5 Irving and Grand Prairie Reporter
Grand Prairie police are using what they call "ghost patrol cars" that blend into traffic and allow officers to catch aggressive drivers.
Grand Prairie police are using patrol cars designed to blend in with traffic to catch aggressive drivers.
The department has been using "ghost" patrol cars for the past year or so. The vehicles are gray or black with no top lights, and their emblems and signage blend in with the car.
Sgt. Eric Hansen said the cars' ability to disappear with traffic is netting positive results when it comes to catching violators red-handed.
"It's been about a 30 percent increase in observed traffic violations with these vehicles as opposed to a traditionally marked police vehicle," he said. "People tend to mind their p's and q's when they see a marked police car, and what we want to do is catch those violators by hiding in plain sight."
The vehicles have no problem blending in with regular traffic, but there is no mistaking that they are patrol cars. One of the top priorities was to make sure the public recognizes the ghost patrol cars as legitimate police vehicles, Officer Greg Parker said.
A new technology with graphics allows the signs to blend into the car at night, but they can be clearly seen when light hits them. Instead of top lights, the cars have lights inside the front and rear windows and on the front bumper areas.
"We specifically plan for that fact," Parker said. "We have more lights and actually additional markings to the front of these squad cars. There's more than actually what is on our patrol fleets right now."
Parker, who specializes in pursuing drunken drivers, said his new patrol vehicle is a smart, not sneaky, way of catching bad drivers.
"You get that person that is riding your bumper, speeds by you, driving very aggressively -- well, most people don't do that when they see a marked black-and-white in the area," he said.
The Grand Prairie Police Department currently has three ghost patrol cars and is about to outfit a couple more soon.