The year we spent in Austin, Texas, was our first exposure to a proliferation of law-enforcement vehicles that weren't V8/RWD, unless you count Europe. And we have to say, that German officer who broke up our barbeque in the park didn't seem all that threatening in his Opel. Neither did the ATX PD in their Impalas. The Authority is just not there. Sure, badge, gun, travel, etc. And the fact remains that one doesn't necessarily need a Vic for most patrol duties. But there's something symbolic in such a vehicle. Wayne County, Michigan switched a couple of years ago. Oakland County's doing it now. But Macomb County top cop Mark Hackel has reservations, and the best observation: "It may be the politically correct thing. But it's not just about gas mileage." [Freep]