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Police recruitment vehicle re-engineered

May 20, 2009|By JENNIFER FITCH

WAYNESBORO, Pa. -- It's not every day you hear rapper Eminem's lyrics played in a police car.

But as the staff at Sounds So Good Car Audio started a Frederick, Md., police car on Wednesday afternoon, Eminem's music caused subwoofers in the back to literally pulsate.

The car won't be used to pick up criminals, but rather recruit potential officers at special events.

Staff at Sounds So Good Car Audio, which is on a lane across from Hooverville Elementary School, had few instructions from police beyond keep the car functional, but also "make it flashy and make it showy," Ryan Bryan said.

"They wanted it loud and to attract attention all around," he said.

Bryan said co-worker Ben Messler's expertise completely converted the Chevrolet HHR that arrived shortly before Christmas 2008.

Messler added splashes of color into the door panels, added lighted neon strips, installed a DVD system on the dashboard, put two video monitors into the back of headrests, and installed a DVD player and 12-inch monitor in the cargo area. The police badge appears as embroidered patches in a couple spots.

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"All the lights on the outside have strobes in them now. There's strobes everywhere," Messler said, pointing under the car.

He estimated he put 300 hours of work into the project, asking the Frederick Police Department to pay for equipment, but not labor.

"We had to re-engineer a couple things," Messler said, saying the main battery needed to be moved and a supplemental battery added.

Bryan said "a couple things" was an understatement on Messler's part.

"It was basically a tin can," he said.

Officers retrieved the car and kept it for a week recently, then returned it for Sounds So Good Car Audio to do the finishing touches. That includes labeling the controls housed in the car's glove compartment.

The lieutenant "is still trying to remember how to operate everything," Bryan said.

Most customers don't opt for such extensive work for their own vehicles, but many are adding components like iPod integration, remote starters and GPS systems instead of buying new vehicles, he said.

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