A night at the race track can be a fun time for a community. Many friends and family gather together, and some actually race their cars. This all happens within the confines of safety teams at the strip, and police security teams around the track. However, the crowds are not the only ones that like to race or watch cars run the raceway’s length. Many police officers are also car enthusiasts. In Dallas last week, there were two police officers who decided to join in on the festivities and race their squad cars.
What did the police do?
Two Dallas County Sherriff’s Deputies pulled their cars up to the timing lights at the drag strip. They then turned on their lightbars and waited for the green light. Once the green light lit up, the officers took off down the drag strip in their squad cars.
Two cars racing down the drag strip sounds dull. It would be a very ordinary happening if it was not for the fact that these two cars were clearly marked police units. Police do not often race their cars unless it is a specific show vehicle developed for community events, such as M.A.D.D. and D.A.R.E program cars. But, in this case, that is exactly what happened.
Where did the police race happen
Yello Belly Drag Strip in Grand Prairie, Texas is the local motorsports venue that racing happened. It is located about thirty miles east of Fort Worth. The track has been a mainstay in the area since the 1950s.
The community’s reaction to the race
The community response, for the most part, has been approving. They appreciated that the officers showed themselves as normal car-loving enthusiasts, not just as enforcers. So, video attendees took of the race actually went viral.
That is when some other members of the community did not approve. The Deputies could be in hot water with their superiors because the racing was not pre-authorized. Many police departments across the country have show cars for display or even for racing. Those vehicles are used for community outreach. Instead, the two deputies used two active police units with their light bars lit up for the event as if to sanction the activity. While most of the community loves the deputies for doing so, the Dallas County Sherriff’s office, however, may have something to say about it. They have not indicated, as of yet, how they are going to respond to the actions by the deputies.
Police Chargers are not like the street Charger
The video clip of the racing has gone viral. It can be seen very clearly in the clip that the squad cars used in the drag strip runs were Dodge Chargers. However, these units are not to be confused with the normal Chargers that can be picked up off the showroom floor at a local dealer. Instead, the Dodge Charger Pursuit is a specially equipped and tested vehicle. Most of these units will come equipped with a specially prepared 5.7-liter Hemi V8. Some of these police cruisers have the option for all-wheel drive. Additionally, they can be equipped with ballistic grade door panels. Also, Dodge has a special package for the Dodge Charger Pursuit units that is called an Officer Protection Package. According to Dodge’s website,
“The available Officer Protection Package uses a rear-facing camera and sensors to detect movement behind. When motion is detected, alert chimes sound, lights flash, windows roll up, doors lock, and images automatically appear on the vehicle’s Uconnect® interactive touchscreen.”
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As people covering the automotive industry and people’s love for it, it is hard to see how the racing was a negative for the department. The deputies kept the racing at the track, which has safety teams and gear available. However, on the other hand, officers are not to skirt department pre-authorizations. So, it is easy to understand both sides of the argument. All that said, maybe it’s time for the Dallas County Sherriff’s Office to develop a drag car for such events and have these deputies head the program because they certainly proved that their community is ready for it.