Most of us have experienced the mild panic of checking the speedometer and braking upon seeing a patrol car in the distance. In Harris County, many of those patrol cars are going to be much more difficult to spot.
Meet the “ghost car,” a new fleet of white Camaros whose police decals are easy to overlook. The markings are so subtle (pale reflective white marks on a white finish) that they can only be seen in certain lights and from certain angles. The cars’ concealed lights and sirens will allow their drivers to conduct stops and arrests, but without the speed deterrence inspired by conventional police vehicles.
For and against
The goal is simple: To catch more people who disobey traffic laws. The Harris Country Sheriff’s Office is deploying these ghost Camaros to catch unlawful drivers unaware. Proponents of unmarked cars argue that, from a driver’s perspective, a police officer could be anywhere at any time, and that such an atmosphere will compel drivers to obey the laws when in the presence of any vehicle.
Critics will argue that the presence of police vehicles with visible markings is a boon to safety as speeding drivers will naturally slow down when they know a potential arrest is imminent. Another source of concern is that bad actors may use their own cars to impersonate police officers.
Protect your own rights
For those who have been arrested, whether by a police officer in a marked, unmarked or ghost vehicle, the concerns remain the same. Know your rights. And if the police violated them in any way, such as in an illegal stop, search or seizure, talk to an attorney who can protect your rights and defend you against the charges you face.