Letter to Editor: SSFPD ‘Ghost Vehicles’ Questioned

South San Francisco, CA   April 22, 2019  by SSF Resident in response to Saturdays’ PD crackdown on speeders


They’ve got their da@@ed “Ghost vehicle” hiding almost everywhere. Cop cars carefully disguised to be as invisible as possible ( a clear effort to violate state law, ssf seems to evade the law’s intent to assure police visibility). Cars naturally check their speed (and most slow if necessary) when a police vehicle is visible. By hiding their true identity, these “doctored” vehicles only serve to, in effect, keep most cars traveling at whatever speeds they’re going at- even if above the posted limits- without correction.


This results in More dangerous roads for us all. But yes, it enables the city to ( Mis-) use the police as a revenue source ( aka a “Cash Cow”) — milking motorists while leaving us all less safe than we’d be with honest, visible police vehicles. Also, visible police can be hailed for assistance as required, whereas police-in- hiding are far less accessible for help. We hope very much to see the city repaint these “ghost cops” ( that is, their disguised vehicles )- to be normal VISIBLE police cars, without delay.


SSFPD vehicles have included those with ‘stealth graphics’ (low visibility graphics) used to mark law enforcement vehicles as seen in our file photo here with SSFPD Officer Tvrdik


There are arguably good reasons for undercover work on done occasions, but most definitely not for traffic safety and other normal public police services patrols. ( this practice also breeds a great deal of contempt for the city administration and for officers we all really could otherwise respect)

7 comments for “Letter to Editor: SSFPD ‘Ghost Vehicles’ Questioned

  1. M. Lu
    April 22, 2019 at 9:48 pm

    Slow down! If you are speeding, you are breaking the law and putting others at risk, including yourself. And don’t drive while texting or otherwise distracted! There should be MORE police vehicles like these to put idiots in their place.

    • April 24, 2019 at 10:01 am

      Slowing down traffic occurs in two situations. When the crowding causes traffic backups. This is increasing every day here now that City Hell has alljweed so many new big apartment tenement buildings. And secondly, traffic slows naturally whenever a regularly- marked police car rolls by. However, nobody slows down when the police aren’t visible – as with these new “ghost cars” ( which is what Ssfpd calls these hidden/disguised vehicles. If you want to slow traffic ( as we do) then let’s get these ghost cars repainted to be visible police patrol cars —— ( and restore the police car lights to be visible, too — just like the “police!” Signage, the police lights on these “ghost cars” are deliberately hidden ( recessed out of sight) too.

  2. The truth
    April 24, 2019 at 4:53 am

    Supreme court ruled that police do not have a constitutional duty to protect ” we the people” . Yeah cops are just revenue generators. Our saftey comes behind theirs

  3. Stu
    April 25, 2019 at 5:08 am

    Blaming the appearance of police cars for getting caught speeding is sour grapes and ridiculous. It’s not a game of Cat & Mouse. Safe driving isn’t about checking your speed only when you spot a police car, it’s about checking your speed all the time. If one gets caught speeding by a so-called “Ghost Vehicle” it wasn’t because of the decal on the car or for “Revenue,” it’s because the driver was speeding and got caught. If there are people who speed past the limit and only slow when they spot a police car, I’d say they deserve a ticket as they chose that risk while potentially putting others in danger.

    As a SSF resident I’ve seen the speed enforcement on El Camino as well as many crashes that might have prompted the extra enforcement, and I applaud the SSFPD for their efforts regardless of the color of their door decal, which I also believe is clearly visible to someone hailing an officer. Do I drive perfectly? Nope. But it’s on me; not the lack of bright colors on the city police car.

  4. Sally Davis
    April 26, 2019 at 5:06 am

    Visible police cars slow traffic. Ghost cars or police in hiding other ways do NOT slow traffic. The issue is not who deserves a ticket, any seriously speeding driver does. The issues are (1) its far better for us all to have more speeders slow down ( visible patrol cars) then less or none ( ghost cars). A second issue also exists, what kind of society we want to live in — one with open, honest, visible governance “to protect and serve” us, or one with secret police in deliberately camouflaged vehicles or hiding behind bushes (used by the controlling politicians to milk citizens like cows — guilty citizens yes, but trapping one guilty speeder when the same police officer in a visible “honest” vehicle would naturally have slowed several hundred cars in the same time —this makes evident — starkly evident — what the real agenda is ). Let’s make the roads safer by choice number one, open “honest” patrol vehicles !

    • Stu
      April 26, 2019 at 7:04 pm

      Naturally the sight of a police car gets a driver’s attention, but it shouldn’t take the presence of a police car to get a driver to refrain from speeding. To cry foul because a nearby police car wasn’t “visible” enough is nothing more than failing to accept personal responsibility and to place fault elsewhere.

      Tickets are unpleasant and costly, but when someone gets caught speeding his/her thought should be more like, “Well, my bad” instead of, “It’s not fair because I didn’t notice the police car.” What if there was no police car around at all? Does that mean it’s acceptable for people to speed until they eventually see one? It’s not a game; It’s a safety issue.

      The El Camino speed enforcement I’ve seen includes officers standing on the shoulder using Radar guns which means a speeding driver is picked up long before he/she would even notice ANY police car regardless of its color characteristics. I’ve also seen the distinguishable police motorcycles with officers wearing bright white helmets catching speeders too, so the argument that getting caught is the result of poorly colored police cars is simply bogus.

      If “visible” police cars tend to slow down speeders then it makes sense that speeders would also slow down in knowing there could be “ghost, camouflaged, hiding” police cars around, especially in such a sensitive area along El Camino where there’s Kaiser, BART, Shopping, Apartments, Costco, kids walking to High School, and all the related crosswalks.

      To suggest that speeding enforcement and/or the color scheme on police cars is all about “milking” citizens is itself a very weak and worn out excuse.

      Yes, the police are to “protect and serve” and to me that is exactly what they are doing here, “protecting,” and I suspect the innocent drivers, pedestrians and bicyclists who’ve been crashed into would agree.

      • Michael
        April 27, 2019 at 9:50 pm

        Nobody is crying about having gotten a ticket! At least, I am not crying since
        I for one, have not received a ticket in decades of driving.
        Not a one. So, that is NOT the subject of this posting. NOR is it even a motivational factor (no change, really, of my getting any speed tickets since I don’t speed anyway.)

        Second, the simple fact (which both traffic studies and anybody’s ready observations) ascertain, is that visible police patrols “inspire” speed compliance (and better, more careful driving generally… how many people do you know who run red lights or stop signs in front of a visible police car?). In short, the previous posters’ comments are substantially correct on the facts.

        For safer roads and less speeders, let’s make sure the “ghost cop cars” are made over into regular, VISIBLE patrol vehicles.
        Thank you.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.