The Arkansas State Police are deploying a new fleet of patrol cars that officials say will help keep highways safer.
The cars do not have roof-mounted flashing blue lights and are marked with the State Police seal only on the passenger side.
Major J. R. Hankins is commander of the Highway Patrol Division’s western region. He says the modern vehicles come in different colors and have been designed to blend in with ordinary traffic.
“We laugh and say sometimes those old blue and white cars have a force field around them and whenever [State Troopers] are on the highway it seems like everybody is doing the right thing,” said Hankins. “Arkansans say they see other problems that we don’t see [when we’re in the old patrol cars] and we are getting complaints on a regular basis. Hopefully, with these new vehicles, we will now see what they’re seeing.”
Hankins says the low profile cars give troopers an advantage when they try to stop drivers who violate the law. However, he admits Arkansans will have to get used to these vehicles.
"Well, we are instructing our troopers to use patience [when using these new cars to make stops]. This is going to be different for every body including us,” he said. “We certainly understand, particularly with women, if they want to pull into a lighted area or an area that gives them a little more comfort… we’re going to be understanding because this is going to be new to all of us.”
There are 24 new patrol cars equipped with state-of-the-art speed detection radars, emergency lighting, and law enforcement communications equipment. The 12 troops in the state will each get two of the vehicles.
The fleet was purchased with a grant from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.