Posted in Montreal, Pop quiz

Auto pop quiz

White car

What’s noteworthy about this car?

UPDATE: OK, so just about all of you got this one right: It’s a cop car.

Invisible cop car

Invisible cop car giving a ticket

If you look closely at the car, you’ll notice very faded (but still reflective) police lettering on it. The red and blue flashing lights are in the windshield instead of on top, and the iconic blue stripe is missing. This is all in an effort to make police cars less noticeable, while still technically leaving them marked.

It’s part of a pilot project by the SPVM which aims to crack down on drivers who speed until they see a police car. Since these ones are tougher to spot, the feeling is that they’ll catch more eagle-eyed speeders that way.

And by that I mean the police will force drivers to speed and then violate their constitutional rights by pulling them over in a deceptive way and issuing huge tickets in a massive cash grab to feed their corrupt bosses and fail to go after the real criminals, etc.

Funny story: after taking these photos, I was chased into a parking lot by the officer, who asked if I wanted to take more pictures of the car. I assume he was being sarcastic, but I can’t be sure. Thinking he’d demand I erase the photos from my camera, I secretly popped out the memory card and stuffed it down my shorts. Only after the encounter did I realize my awkward stuffing manoeuvre sent it straight through the shorts and on to the pavement below. I had to spend five minutes retracing my steps to find it again.

UPDATE: The National Post wrote a story about this, using one of my photos.

38 thoughts on “Auto pop quiz

  1. the Babylon

    It’s the popo. Hints: black steel rims (kind where the lugs are not exposed to prevent tampering), shark-fin radio antenna, “personne morale” F-series license plate. Notworthy, lack of visible light-bar, so now I have no chance of dangerously slamming on the brakes when I’m going with the flow of traffic at a safe speed that just happens to be over the posted limit. $$$$$$$

    Reply
  2. Kakei Chan

    It may be a cop car in disguise. I saw one ambushing at a corner with faintly painted on police markings on its side doors.

    Reply
  3. SMS

    It’s actually a SPVM vehicle. I saw one today on Rene-Levesque (while I was aboard the 515 no less).

    The F plate gives it away somewhat… the cops STILL haven’t given their unmarked cars civilian plates!

    Reply
  4. Alastair Yates

    Easy! It is an undercover police car. I can tell because the Montreal police department has a fleet of Chevrolet Impalas (including some with no badging).

    Reply
  5. Christelle

    Haha about the memory card! Better find a better hiding spot for next times…! Though we are in a free country and this was outside so I don’t see why you wouldn’t be allowed to take pics…

    Reply
    1. Fagstein Post author

      As in he stared at me for a bit and then turned into the parking lot, drove toward me, rolled down the passenger-side window and talked to me.

      Reply
  6. Jean Naimard

    Some 40 years ago, at school, one day a drab green Renault 8 (yes, Montréal had Renault 8 police cruisers back then — when they were being built in St-Bruno) parks and inside are two guys dressed in black with big moustaches.
    Being a reader of Tintin, I naturally thought of the Dupont/Dupond (Thompson in English, I believe) so I went to the car, and asked “excuse me, are you secret police???”
    They said “yes, now go play”…

    Reply
  7. Maria Gatti

    Have they given any thought that this is not only sneaky and underhanded but that it also undermines the idea of a PROTECTIVE “police presence” for vulnerable people? How is an honest citizen supposed to flag down a police car to report on someone being mugged if he or she can’t see the police-force livery on the car?

    Not quite the scary green Ford Falcons used to hunt down people to “disappear” under the Argentine dictatorship, but a misuse and misinterpretation of the supposed purpose of a police force, to protect citizens.

    Reply
    1. Fagstein Post author

      I don’t think anyone is seriously suggesting that these cars replace the regular fleet of patrol vehicles, only that they be used in the limited situation of catching speeders in traffic.

      Reply
  8. BruB

    I’ll admit I drive a fast car and therefore…I drive fast. Rarely got caught in the act though because I try to drive smart (except for the speed part) when crowded, I drive at regular speed, when in city street, I drive at regular speed, I doN,t change lanes for nothing and don’t tailgate. That being said, why is it that the police or the authorities have pilot projects or new to catch bad drivers it’s called a “cash grabbed”.

    Maybe, just maybe in my naive way, it’s to actually stop speeders?

    Reply
    1. Fassero

      It isn’t. What it *should* be doing is stopping just as, if not more, dangerous in-motion driving acts such as poor passing, tailgating, etc. – acts that rarely occur when there is a visual police presence on the road (except if that car is substantially behind where the act has occurred.)

      Think about it for a sec. Speeding tends to be committed by groups of cars at any given section of road. The moving, unmarked car will only be able to ticket one of them at a time (and odds are he won’t even ticket the local driver; he’ll go for the one with the Ontario plate, New York plate, etc since that driver has the lowest odds by far of challenging it in court.) The stationary marked car will be in the visual of all and cause a slowing down effect (except for the odd dope who fails to look)

      Study after study after study has proven that speeding has been best deterred by having a visual presence of enforcement vehicles on the road (heck, drivers on highways will slow down if they see ANY kind of flashing light in the distance). But, since “visual presence” does not translate into “revenue”, forces don’t feel compelled to use it.

      Reply
      1. Fagstein Post author

        Study after study after study has proven that speeding has been best deterred by having a visual presence of enforcement vehicles on the road

        Yes, until that visual presence is passed, at which point the drivers speed up again. The point behind this campaign is that if you don’t know who’s a cop, you’ll be careful when you’re around any white car.

        Reply
        1. Fassero

          Really? So, for instance, 30 years or so of unmarked blue or black Crown Victorias looming about have made the 401 the safest highway on Earth, right? Like I said, makes sense for stoplight infractions, errant passing etc. (in fact, since your picture was taken on Jockeys instead of, for instance, Decarie, that was probably what the officer caught). For speed….it’ll be a colossal waste of time except in the revenue department.

          Reply
  9. Pingback: Fagstein » National Post amused by our wacky cop cars

  10. SMS

    OK so the moral of the story is watch out for, what, Chevy Impalas, and Ford Crown Vics and potentially Tauruses? What else… cops on motorbikes too?

    Reply

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