Disclaimer: Kids, it's a federal offense to impersonate an officer. Don't try this at home.
Let's be real: The 13-year-old me squealed and giggled a bit when I was handed the keys to a 2015 Dodge Charger Pursuit. Oh, the amount of trouble I could get in—and how quickly I could land myself in jail.
To say I restrained myself would be putting it mildly. And even then, my neighbors didn't think my jokes were funny.
Yes, Dodge did give me a 2015 Charger Pursuit for a long weekend—a real cop car...sort of. To most people it looked like a cop car, because, well it looks the part. It had a full sticker package, lights, sirens, the works.
But if you look closely it doesn't say the word police anywhere. Sure, it says 911, Charger Pursuit, and Dodge Law Enforcement, but the word police never appears.
That's probably a good thing because impersonating an officer is a federal offense, and I'm not sure how well I'd fare in prison.
So, what's it like to drive a cop car?
No one will pass you, almost ever
You would think driving a police car makes you king of the road, right? Only partly true. Logic would tell you that everyone would avoid you and get out of the way, but that isn't the case. I'm sure if you flipped on the lights and sirens things change, quickly; but since that's illegal, I didn't.
In non-pursuit mode people seem to cluster around you. They want to go faster than the speed limit, but they won't dare go faster than the cop right next to them for fear of probably getting pulled over. What ends up happening is they basically pace you, and you get caught in a cluster of vehicles going the same speed.
Except for this one guy. A gentlemen in an Audi SQ5 saw me coming up on him and immediately slowed down, logically thinking I was the police. As I rolled up next to him on the highway he actually took a moment to read the stickers on the car, a first. It was abundantly clear that after reading the stickers he knew I wasn't actually the police, nor was this a real in-service police car.
How did I know? He put the throttle to the floor and blasted away from me as I was already going the posted speed limit.
Blasting Anthrax's I Am The Law while driving with the windows down is hilarious
One of our journalist friends at Car and Driver dared me to blast Anthrax's I Am The Law while driving the Charger Pursuit. Never one to shy away from such an innocent dare, I obliged.
As I passed a school bus full of kids, the kids looked at me like I was crazy. When I passed a fire truck full of firefighters, they waved and gave me the thumbs up. Then I passed two sheriffs, and when they did a double-take, I decided it was time to stop.