America’s First Police Car Was Electric

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The city of Akron, Ohio purchased the first police car from The Collins Buddy Company in 1899.  The sticker price for the one-of-a-kind vehicle was a hefty $2,400 or $65,000 in today’s money. 

Elon Musk would appreciate that America’s first police car was powered by two 4-hp electric motors that topped out at 18 mph and had a range of 30 miles. This vehicle was revolutionary for its time because it was the first horseless Police vehicle ever introduced in the United States. 

America's First Police Car
America’s First Police Car

Officer Mueller Sr. had the responsibility of driving the first police car.  The 5,000-pound “paddy” wagon came fully equipped with electric headlights, a loud sounding gong, a cell for prisoners, and seating for 12 officers.

The historic vehicle was first called into action when officers responded to an emergency call in downtown Akron where they arrested a drunk man for disorderly conduct. 

The Akron Police Department used America’s first police car on a daily basis until an angry mob stole it during the 1900 Akron Riot.  The vehicle was heavily damaged and pushed into the Ohio & Erie Canal.  Police officials recovered and restored the vehicle back to service until 1905 when it was sold as scrap for $25.

Although the battery powered wagon served them well, city authorities never requested another one because they needed faster gasoline-powered vehicles to fight the rise of the Mafia and organized crime.

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