As one of the premier law enforcement departments in the country, the Los Angeles police department possesses the top-of-the-line in transportation machinery and equipment. To efficiently patrol the almost 500 square miles comprising the city of Los Angeles, the department uses a number of different types of vehicles; sedans, motorcycles, and helicopters. In the first category category, the Ford Crown Victoria Police Interceptor is the sedan of choice for patrol. It is the only vehicle, which, according to department policy, is allowed to engage in a vehicle pursuit. The cars are black with the roof, doors, and pillars painted white, a color combination in use since around 1940.
Available options include handlebar lamps, sixteen-inch steel wheels, and front door ballistic panels. For the two-wheeled vehicle variety, Kawasaki Police motorcycles are the most numerous in the motor pool, along with some Harley-Davidsons and BMWs. The cycles are also painted black and white, and carry a radio, radio equipment, a shotgun and documentation used by officers. During rainfall, motorcycles are stored away and sedans are exclusively used for patrol.
In the airborne vehicle variety, the Los Angeles police department maintains the second largest non-military airforce in the world, containing 21 helicopters and one fixed wing aircraft. In non-motorized vehicles, bicycles are extensively used as transportation equipment by the LAPD. Bicycle units are primarily used during special events to provide fast and easy police assistance. The units may patrol a 10-25 miles area to provide assistance for any given event.
Giant is the manufacturer of the bicycles used by the department. There is also an equestrian unit comprised of about 35 police horses. Typically utilized during special events, specially trained patrolmen ride the horses to maintain crowd control. Though horses are not viewed as vehicles in the traditional sense, they do efficiently carry officers to various areas in a particular beat.
Matt Paolini is an transportation writer for CityBook.com, the family-safe Online Yellow Pages, which carries an extensive directory on Los Angeles building and construction.