Police cars are emergency service vehicles used by police. The cars begin to chase the protagonist of each Grand Theft Auto game when they have received either a police head or wanted star. Police cars are known by different names in different games, whilst GTA IV has two models of police cars: The Police Cruiser and Police Patrol. Since GTA III, the majority of police cars in the game have shared the same body design as the Taxi.
GTA 1 — GTA 2
In Grand Theft Auto 1, the police car is known as the "Squad Car". Three variants of the car exist, each appearing in one of the game's three cities. In Liberty City, the Squad Car is rounded vehicle with blue-white livery, appearing similar to a 1990's Chevrolet Caprice; the San Andreas/Vice City variants are actually adaptations of the Portsmouth, with the San Andreas version bearing a black-and-white body color design and similar angular body design, and the Vice City rendition being colored blue and white but features a modified body that appears wider and rounded. In the PC version of GTA 1, the police cars (along with the Ambulance and the Fire Truck) will have their radio tuned to Brooklyn Underground FM, unlike all other renditions throughout the series which only have the standard police dispatch radio.
The performance of GTA 1 Squad Cars are identical in all three cities, and are all essentially the best in the game, with the highest top speed and acceleration among all cars in the game, highly responsive brakes and good grip. While the cars are given a very high export value of $2,000, but the cars cannot be exported, as are other emergency vehicles.
In Grand Theft Auto 2, the police car is known as the "Cop Car" and assumes a completely original design, looking like a retro-futuristic squad car with 1940s design cues. Like in GTA 1, it is the fastest car in the game, along with the Meteor, and features responsive cornering and brakes, making it a desirable vehicle to drive. It is also the only car in the game which gives a Cop Bribe when crushed. The police car in GTA2 was originally green-and-white, along with the SWAT Van, but this combination is never seen in the game, it was changed to a blue-and-white combination.
GTA III — GTA Vice City Stories
In all the games of this era, the police car has been known as the "Police", with the exception of GTA Advance and GTA Vice City Stories. In GTA Advance, it is referred to as the "Police Car", and in GTA Vice City Stories, it is called the "VCPD Cruiser".
Throughout all 3D era games, police cars are very fast, with excellent handling, and moderate durability. These stats make it great for drifting. They have two sirens, one default "long-whirl", and the "rotating-weep", triggered by holding the horn button. The player will receive 5 rounds of ammunition for any weapon in the Shotgun slot after entering a Police car.
GTA III & GTA Liberty City Stories
The Police Car in these two games resembles a cross between a Chevrolet Caprice and a Ford Crown Victoria.
In GTA III, the Police Car was originally intended to have a blue-and-white stripes livery similar to the 1990s/early 2000s NYPD police cars, however, in the final version, they have standard black and white livery like the Los Angeles Police Department. Also, the original Police Car had a more sleek profile compared to the final which appears more angular/boxy (though hints of the aerodynamic design do remain). The Police Cars in GTA Liberty City Stories feature the stripes livery intended for GTA III cars, albeit in black-and-white rather than blue-and-white.
GTA Vice City & GTA Vice City Stories
In these two games, the design of the vehicle is a combination of the front and rear of the fourth generation Ford LTD and the midsection of the GM-Opel Senator A. Both feature a green and white livery, much like the Miami-Dade Police Department. During development, the vehicle was white with red and blue stripes along each side, resembling squad cars from the Miami Beach Police Department. Despite the differences in textures and paint, the vehicle polygon model is reused from GTA III. In the PC version of GTA Vice City, a rare all-white variant can be found parked at random locations.
Despite the fact that the Police in Vice City has AWD, it lacks the stability of other fast AWD vehicles in the game (namely the Deluxo and Comet). This is due in part to its soft suspension and poor roll resistance as well as to its poor tire traction even at moderate speeds. As such, the Police is prone to roll over or spin at a moments notice, so it may be best to avoid drastic and abrupt maneuvers while driving it.
The same car was reused in Rockstar's Manhunt games. They only appear as static objects, as driving is not an intended feature in Manhunt. The main difference is that the car has a black and white paintjob instead of a green and white paintjob.
GTA San Andreas
There are three variations in GTA San Andreas. The Los Santos Police Department and San Fierro Police Department versions have the same build, based on the Premier, with the San Fierro version having slightly higher suspension most likely due to San Fierro's hilly streets with steep inclines (like its real life counterpart, San Francisco), and markings for their respective cities. The Las Venturas Police Department version generally resembles a 1981-1990 Chevrolet Caprice, with the sides and back reminiscent of the 1980-1989 Dodge Diplomat, and the closest civilian car in the game is the Tahoma. All police vehicles feature a standard black and white livery.
The GTA Advance rendition of the Police is designed to bear a likeness to the Police from GTA III, with a generally rounded profile and a black-white paintjob. Unlike other renditions, the car is substantially more speedy, with a top speed matched with the Banshee's. Being a mid-sized car, crushing the Police will only award the player with a base amount of $532.
For much of the games which exist within the HD universe, police cars exist in the form of generations of the Ford Crown Victoria, paralleling the widespread popularity of the car among police forces across America. Other variants of police cars exist, an example being the Merit-based Police Patrol in GTA IV (inspired by the NYPD's use of the Chevrolet Impala 9C1 Police Package), and the Buffalo-based cruiser in TBoGT and GTA V (inspired by USA and Canada police force usage of the Dodge Charger Police Package).
GTA V emulates the declining usage of the Crown Victoria as a general purpose cruiser, as the Ford Taurus Polic Package-based Interceptor takes that role within the LSPD. Crown Victoria - based LSPD cruisers still exist, in the iconic LAPD paint scheme, but its use is to a lesser extent. However, the Crown Victoria is adopted as a cruiser in the countryside.
In Grand Theft Auto IV, there are two similar but separate police cars - the DeClasse Merit-based Police Patrol and the Vapid Stanier-based Police Cruiser. Two more police cars, a Buffalo-based Police Cruiser and a high-performance Police Stinger, are available in The Ballad of Gay Tony's multiplayer.
The player can get in any police car and access the police computer while stationary. Here, the player can access Most Wanted missions, or locate and apprehend nearby criminals. The siren on both police cars features some variations, including the classic "code-3 siren" wail, the yelp when the siren is activated and the horn button held down, and, if the siren is turned off and the horn button held down, a distorted "crowd control" air horn, as used in real life. One missing siren variation is the code-2 siren which is just lights but no siren, but this siren is possible in a rare glitch. The air horn is the most common horn sound which is available for both police cars and other emergency vehicles. Officers in real life use it to pull over people and respond to domestic calls (but when cruising, police sometimes honk the regular horn rather than the air horn). In Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas you can do it by rapidly turning it on and off until just the lights are on as if you were not in the police car with the lights on. The lights without siren only occurs when exiting the vehicle with siren on, applying only when the player does it. This code-2 siren glitch has been confirmed on GTA IV.
The player can dial 911 to summon the police car by luring them to a false alarm. Stealing the car (while the officer searches for any incidents), will attract a one-star Wanted level. In some places, a police car can be stolen from a parking lot or curbside without incurring a Wanted level.
GTA Chinatown Wars
Police cars in GTA Chinatown Wars are simply dubbed "Police Patrols", the same name for those seen in GTA IV. While having reverted to a panda body colour scheme, the car incorporates GTA IV's police computer for use in vigilante side missions. Although the car is implied to be similar to GTA IV's Declasse-based Police Patrol, pre-rendered depictions of the Police Patrol and the Police Cruiser are used during "busted" sequences in the game.
Four types of police cars are seen in GTA V. The first one is the Police Cruiser, based on the second-generation Vapid Stanier, along with a Sheriff variant. The second is the Vapid Interceptor, which is also named Police Cruiser in-game, and is the most common type of law enforcement vehicle used by the Los Santos Police Department. The third is the Police Buffalo, which is again named Police Cruiser in game. The fourth is the Esperanto-based Police Roadcruiser, which cannot be obtained and is only seen in the Prologue.
Unlike previous games, they are numbered randomly, varying between 00-99. These vehicles has two versions of lightbars: LED and older rotatating ones. The North Yankton State Patrol Police Roadcruiser uses a second variant, an LED lightbar that flashes side-by-side only.
Sirens in GTA V are a considerable improvement over the previous games attempts at realistic siren equipment. All police cars are equipped with four siren codes: wail, yelp and phaser respectively. Air horns can be used also. The Stanier - based cruiser's use within the LSPD is to a lesser extent, although versions with LED lightbars may be dispatched due to a rare glitch.
Police cars are usually parked in front of police stations and are often locked.
GTA III & GTA Liberty City Stories
GTA Vice City & GTA Vice City Stories
GTA San Andreas
Other police vehicles