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Dallas's Police Car of the Future?

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A few years down the road, you just may get pulled over by a Dallas Police officer driving this hot new number. If nothing else, it's on the DPD's wish list -- appropriate in the hometown of RoboCop.

The first purpose-built police car is on a national tour and stopped this afternoon inside the Dallas Convention Center to see if DPD might be interested. And, indeed, they are. "Oh, heck, yeah," said Lt. A.J Crawford. Dale Barnard, who manages the department's 1,700 vehicles and attended today's show-and-tell, says he's already spoken to city officials about buying a few to test in 2012, when the vehicle is scheduled to go into production.

Barnard likes a few things about the diesel-powered car: its fuel efficiency (said to be 40 percent above current police cars), its lifespan (250,000 miles, as opposed 100,000), and the fact the Atlanta-based maker has said it will restrict sales to law enforcement, even collecting the cars after use to keep them out of the public's hands (and away from their lead foots).

"The car has incredible potential," Barnard tells Unfair Park. "It's the only vehicle anyone has tried to build to be nothing but a police car." However, Bernard wants to test the vehicles for at least three years before placing "any kind of bulk order."

Stacy Stephens, co-founder and sales development manager of Carbon Motors Corporation, says the vehicle hasn't been priced yet. He's waiting until he gets input from law-enforcement agencies across the country, but says the price will be competitive. A patrol-ready vehicle on average costs between $40,000 and $60,000.

Dallas is the 36th city visited by Carbon Motors Corporation. Stephens says the company has more than 11,000 reservations from law-enforcement agencies across the U.S.

The bells and whisltes on the prototype car include two NACA ducts that sample the air to test for radiation of biological elements -- you know, like "weapons of mass destruction," said Stephens. The panel at the front of the car includes a scanner that can run 1,500 license plates per minute. In other words, if you have an outstanding warrant, you'd better hope you don't get stuck at a red light in front of a bored cop.

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