Will Campbell at Los Angeles Metblogs Monday writes an ode to his friendly, neighborhood patrol car, a two-ton paperweight that sits and never seems to move. His particular black-and-white scarecrow sits at West Fourth and Hudson streets in Hancock park -- for reasons unknown (reasons we're sure the Los Angeles Police Department will keep to itself).
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It's part of what seems to be a growing number of such deployments, what Campbell calls the LAPD's Antiterrorist Stationary Street Patrol Unit Placement (ASSPUP). We first started noticing such empty threats immediately after 9/11, when cars were placed at possible targets, such as outside the gates of Paramount Studios on Melrose Avenue.
It must work, because in the years that followed we've noticed them elsewhere -- outside certain Jewish organizations on Wilshire Boulevard, for example. What's a little funny is when the cars have been parked in one place so long that they start to collect dust thick enough for vandals to write in.
But parking a black-and-white outside a threatened address sure must be cheaper than having actual badges there, especially as the the police department is running $80 million in the red.
As technology allows, someday we expect to see patrol cars running drone-style down city streets, dummies-in-uniform inside. Bad-guy robots can't be far behind.