Sometimes the cops absolutely positively have to get every single driver out of their way. That's what sirens are for, and Jalopnik readers have picked out the ten coolest from around the world.
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Photo Credit: Lamborghini
Suggested By: Zergonn
What makes it cool: The sound of a German police car is simultaneously quintessentially European and distinctly German. It's very similar to the French siren, but a little bit deeper, a little bit more authoritative, and a little less passionate.
Suggested By: zacarious
What makes it cool: While similar to the German version, the French police use a slightly more emotional version of this classic two tone siren. And as reader ttyymmnn points out, the French have a little trick up their sleeves.
The police siren uses a musical perfect fourth note, the ambulances use a perfect fifth, and the fire trucks use a major second. You might not tell the difference at first, but after some time in the city of lights you'll probably subconsciously recognize what kind of emergency vehicle is coming.
Suggested By: techinsanity2011
What makes it cool: Whenever a severe thunderstorm is coming, or there's a seriously huge fire, you always hear those giant civil defense horns. The ones designed to be heard across counties with their long, drawn-out wooOOOooo sound.
Now, imagine those have been miniaturized and mounted inside JDM Toyotas and Nissans and Hondas. That is the siren of the Japanese police.
Suggested By: DasWauto
What makes it cool: If you read The Odyssey in high school, you know a siren can refer to some extremely seductive females and not just the noise a cop car makes. The V10 wail of the Italian Polizia's Gallardo certainly lies somewhere in between these two interpretations of the word.
Suggested By: Sam I – Texalopnik Ambassador
What makes it cool: The sound of this one will take you straight back to the 1920's that you have imagined in your head, replete with flapper dresses, bowler hats, speakeasys, and people driving by in Model-Ts shooting machine guns. Today's sirens are undoubtedly more effective, but they're not nearly as elegant as they used to be.
Suggested By: Vracktal…..
What makes it cool: The Metropolitan Police in London, like the NYPD, cycle through many noises. However, in their repertoire they always feature the "classic European" and the "genetically altered miniature dog being stepped on." Despite being unlike any noise nature could ever produce, the Met's siren is oddly pleasing, in a very unusual way.
Suggested By: Triborough
What makes it cool: The siren of the NYPD cycles through many different noises: traditional police siren, Rumbler, psychotically chirping mutant birds, etc. If you've ever lived in New York City you know it's not the most pleasant thing to hear, but it sure is effective at getting tourists to move out of the way so the cops can go stop those illegal Elmo impersonators.
Suggested By: Harrison
What makes it cool: If the German Polizei have a corner on the European sound, the Powercall is the modern interpretation of the American police siren. Hearing this thing is sure to take you back to your younger days, back when you'd find money flying out of an XC90.
Suggested By: techinsanity2011
What makes it cool: Sirens are cool and all, but they're not terribly melodic. They're repetitive and after a while pretty annoying, no matter how cool they seem at first. The exception to this rule is the little tune Dutch ambulances play. It might sound like an ice cream truck, but there's just enough differentiation in pitch to tell you to get out of the way of this one and not go looking for Sno Cones.
Suggested By: $kaycog
What makes it cool: In recent years law enforcement across the globe has been struggling with the issue of how to overcome background noise. Pedestrians blasting Fergie through their Beatz by Dre and John Q. Public pumping the bass in the back of his '95 Cavalier can hardly hear sirens until the cops are right behind them.
What solves this issue is The Rumbler, a siren that's not just heard, but felt. Its incredibly low frequencies mean that even if you don't hear it, you'll feel it on the ground or in the seat of your pants. It's the siren for the iPod generation.