A police car (also called a police cruiser, police interceptor, patrol car, cop car, prowl car, squad car, radio car, or radio motor patrol (RMP)) is a ground vehicle used by police for transportation during patrols and to enable them to respond to incidents and chases. Typical uses of a police car include transporting officers so they can reach the scene of an incident quickly, transporting and temporarily detaining suspects in the back seats, as a location to use their police radio or laptop, or to patrol an area, all while providing a visible deterrent to crime. Some police cars are specially adapted for certain locations (e.g., traffic duty on busy roads) or for certain operations (e.g., to transport police dogs or bomb squads). Police cars typically have rooftop flashing lights, a siren, and emblems or markings indicating that the vehicle is a police car. Some police cars may have reinforced bumpers and alley lights, for illuminating darkened alleys.
Terms for police cars include area car and patrol car. In some places, a police car may also be informally known as a cop car, a black and white, a cherry top, a gumball machine, a jam sandwich or panda car. Depending on the configuration of the emergency lights and livery, a police car may be considered a marked or unmarked unit.
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