From the Appomattox Times Virginian

New state police cruiser does 150 mph
Wednesday, February 28, 2007 10:43 AM EST

Anyone thinking of engaging police in a high-speed chase might want to think twice.

The Virginia State Police introduced a new fleet of patrol cars that can reach speeds of up to 150 miles per hour and also feature a number of other high-tech additions.

Approximately 37 new Dodge Chargers have been distributed to the State Police, and one of those was on display at the Division III Headquarters on Police Tower Road in Appomattox.

With its new graphic design, displaying the Virginia State Police logo, it will catch an eye or two.

The car has a 5.7 liter V-8 engine with a Hemi engine.

"It is a high performance car," said Virginia State Trooper Michael Guyer, who added that he has not yet attempted to reach the 150-mile-per-hour threshold.

Guyer, who was the first to try out the new car, has been driving the new Dodge Charger since Feb. 13.

The Virginia State Police bought the cars for different localities throughout the state on a trial basis.

If an officer is involved in a high-speed chase, the Didge Charger accelerates a lot more quickly than normal police cruisers.

As a matter of fact it accelerates from 0-to-60 miles per hour two seconds faster than the Ford Crown Victoria patrol cars that are currently used.

The Charger can accelerate from 0-to-60 mph in 6.5 seconds.

The 345-horsepower Charger is equipped with an electronic stability program, which helps the vehicle from going out of control.

For instance, in a high-speed chase, the Charger allows the driver to maintain better control.

"I think the biggest thing is stability control. It would cut down on the number of accidents," said Sergeant David Cooper, Public Information Officer with the State Police.

There are three types of cars, unmarked, marked/logo and "slick tops."

"Slick tops" have the state police logo on the doors but do not have the emergency light bar on the roof.

The blue and gray marked car is equipped with a computer, a Global Positioning System (GPS) and a digital video system.

Also it has a new stars radio system called Statewide Agencies Radio System (STARS).

The system allows different groups of people to communicate privately within their own organizations, even while other groups are communicating among themselves.

While members travel throughout Virginia, the system will automatically track them so they will not be out of communications with other members of their group.

The STARS system was started in 2004.

The Commonwealth of Virginia and Motorola have signed a $329 million contract for STARS.

Although the car is equipped with the new radio, the communications system has not been upgraded yet.

The communication upgrade for the chargers is projected to take place in 2009 for the Appomattox division.

The difference between this car and the former car is that the Charger is equipped digital recording video.

The system is called Watch Guard Digital video.

Although pressing stop on this digital system, it will execute a stop at the second it is commanded to stop.

"It still goes after two minutes," said Guyer.

The digital system can be programmed to other times.

"We can preset it for other times," added Guyer.

During an average ride, the Charger, which has eight cylinders, uses only four cylinders to conserve gas.

Like the other patrol cars, it is equipped with camera that is automatically activated when the patrol lights are on.

"No one is allow to drive the car without training because of the performance issues," said Guyer.