New Jersey police car gets second life across the ocean
MANALAPAN — After several years of patrolling township roads, the vehicle once known as Patrol Car 6 has gotten a new life on the other side of the world.
The car was used sometime between 2010 and 2013, according to Ptl. Kevin Ruditsky. After accumulating a significant amount of mileage it was taken out of commission and put up for auction. The former patrol car was eventually purchased by Stephan Kinzinger, a member of a club in Germany called the Independent Police Car Owners of Europe.
Ruditsky said he was contacted by the group several months ago that they were in the process of restoring the car. A Facebook page has also been created to track the adventures of the car in its new life, from driving on the Autobahn to events in Berlin and other cities around the country.
Kinzinger said what drew him to the car was the unusual color scheme used by the Manalapan Township Police Department at the time, as well as the decal of the New York City skyline on the hood. The decal was used after the 9/11 attacks to pay tribute to the 11 residents who died in the attacks. The department also used a dark blue on the bottom of the car, with grey on the top, while most departments use a mostly white car with other colors included.
Members of the group recently came to the United States to tour various police agencies, including the New York Police Department Ruditsky said they were told the Manalapan stop was the last, and the highlight of the trip.
"When he came to our station, him and his group spent about two hours going through our parking lot," Ruditsky said. "He was almost like a little kid."
Ruditsky said it is common practice for the department to rotate cars, so anyone who was on the force at that time likely drove in the vehicle at some point.
"It's a little surreal to see something that's gone from here, that's wound up across the world there," Ruditsky said. "Somebody's driving it. Somebody's brought it back home in brand new condition. It's being used for good things now."
While there are plenty of classic cars and classic car groups in the United States, Ruditsky said he is not familiar with any groups that focus on police cars. He also said he wasn't sure whether it would even be legal for people to own and operate decommissioned police cars.
"I honestly don't think it would be legal, especially after 9/11. That's when the security around these things really tightened," he said. "You might be able to do it and display it, but you wouldn't be able to drive it on the street. Then you get borderline impersonating a police officer."
While the car looks to be in the same condition as it was when it was in service in Monmouth County, Kinzinger said there are very strict rules he has to follow in Germany as well. He said the car is legally not allowed to have working lights and sirens, so he has to remove the fuses when he drives on public streets. He also has to put a black cover over the light bar.
The car group is planning to visit some police departments on the west coast next year, but could be coming back east in two years, Ruditsky said. He's also said he hopes to someday see the old car in Europe someday.
"I actually asked my Captain if I could swing a trip to Germany," he said with a laugh. "I don't think the township's going to swing a trip to Germany."
In a book the group shared with him cars from other towns and cities across the United States can also be seen looking good enough to be back on the streets helping to protect and serve.