Subaru's STi Police Car

Subaru’s “punish the pavement” slogan for its high-performance STi gets new meaning when you see the way one Chicago suburb is preventing street racing and promoting safe driving. In the spring of 2008, the village of Itasca, Ill., swore into duty a 2008 Subaru Impreza WRX STi that’s up to the task of punishing the pavement … and speeders.

The STi is on a one-year loan from Subaru of America to the Itasca Police Department, which uses the high-performance hatchback for street-racing prevention as well as law enforcement and vehicle-safety demonstrations. Officers take the STi to car shows and cruise nights, where they get a chance to talk with younger car nuts one-on-one. It’s only occasionally used to chase down speeders.

As a result of driving the STi — a boy-racer favorite — Itasca has the ability to reach a demographic that traditionally wants nothing to do with the police. Itasca police officer William Webster says young drivers come up to the car at shows and events knowing every detail about it, which allows for a conversation the police normally couldn’t have with that demographic.

“After D.A.R.E. and driver’s education, we lose touch with drivers that age,” said Itasca chief of police Scott Heher. “This car allows us to further the interaction on a positive note.”

Itasca’s STi has made numerous appearances at local cruise nights, car shows and parades, where officers say it continually draws a crowd. 

The STi’s graphics commemorate one of the events in which it participated: The 2008 Illinois Special Olympics. An annual marathon called the Law Enforcement Torch Run raises donations for the Special Olympics, and Itasca’s STi led the pack of law-enforcement runners and police/emergency vehicles to the Special Olympics stadium in Bloomington-Normal, Ill.

But don’t let the thoughtful graphics and the fact that it’s an STi fool you, like it has some: The turbocharged, 305-hp Impreza is a fully operational squad car, and officers have issued citations and warnings from the hot hatch. Other police departments should watch out as well, as Itasca’s STi has taken top awards in police-only car shows. These awards include a first-place time in the slalom course, which isn’t surprising considering it probably isn’t too hard to dust off Ford Crown Victorias and Dodge Chargers in an STi. 

The STi wears its roof-mounted LED light bar and LED-equipped hood scoop rather seamlessly, but as far as we know there are no plans for an actual Police Interceptor STi. The badge on the STi’s hatch was borrowed from a police interceptor Crown Victoria. Check out the photo gallery below.

By Joe Bruzek | October 24, 2008 | Comments (13)
Tags: Subaru

Comments 

Mart

My home town in the UK has a series of unmarked Subari STIs for highway patrol uses. I remember, before I moved out to Chicago, I once was followed onto the highway by a red Subara Impreza and if i hadn't noticed the tiny blue LEDs hidden in the grill, i'd have probably zoomed off and he'd have got me for speeding!

Saying that, I'd have more chance outrunning that than the standard issue BMW 540i's that the regular highway officers drive.

D

Colorado has used the previous generation STi as a marked State Patrol vehicle. They have been spotted along I-70 in higher elevations in the wintertime.

J

Looks like the STI will do a good job to serve as cops car due to the hatch.

The Colorado State Patrol having an STi is an urban legend. The photos of it circling around on the web were part of a promotion by them to stop/curb street racing. It was actually the photographers car modified to look like a State Patrol car. I was on a message board several years ago (High Altitude Imports) where said photographer originally posted the images, the transformation of his car from street ride to faux patrol car, etc.

c b

BUY AMERICAN ---keep our tax dollars here

c b

BUY AMERICAN ---keep our tax dollars here

J

Buying American does not keep our tax dollar here. Come on, let's face it. Who is paying those Mexican autoworkers?

Mart

Seems a few UK forces have Subarus. This is a marked car from Essex:

http://www.ukemergency.co.uk/police/dscd0743.jpg

J

Mart, the Italians have Lambos too.

Rick

This car looks great. Great Job Itasca

What a great looking car. This is such a nice thing to do for the Special Olympics.

This car looks great. I like it very much.

Russ

This is an excellent program that Itasca Police and Subaru of America continue to participate in. I actually had the opportunity to race with the 2010 car they currently have in blue and green Itasca Police vinyl at an SCCA sanctioned event in August.

And for those that say to buy American, look at the sticker in the door of your Chevy or Ford. Now tell me where the vehicle was asssembled. Subaru Has a plant only about 2 hours from Chicago. Although the Impreza may not be manufactured there, the rest of the model line is. I'd say thats just about as american as any "American" car.

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