Henry Grabar is a staff writer for Slate’s Moneybox and a former fellow at CityLab. He lives in New York.
It sounds like a plot device from the latest Fast & Furious movie, but it's just the latest news from Dubai: one of the city's newest squad cars is a Lamborghini.
The model in question, the Aventador, costs around $400,000 -- roughly ten starting police salaries in an American city. So why spend that much money on a police car?
Well, Dubai does have some road safety issues. On a rare rainy day in December, police recorded 330 accidents in the emirate, which has roughly the population of Houston. Thirty-three people were killed in car accidents in January and February of this year, and police during that time recorded nearly 300,000 traffic violations.
The particular nature of the area's drivers -- there are so many luxury cars that even the abandoned ones are worth more than your house -- may demand extraordinary measures. Sky News reports that one of out every seven traffic fines in Dubai is issued for driving over 130 miles per hour, so maybe the Aventador, with its top speed of 217 miles per hour, is a necessary addition to the force.
Indeed, a spokesman for the force told The National that the car will be used "in locations that require fast, sporty cars." But that may not mean nighttime highway patrols aimed at catching reckless drivers.
Rather, according to police director General Khamis Matter al-Muzaina, the hot-rod will be dispatched to downtown in order to show "how classy Dubai is."
In other words, opulent Dubai may want to remind the world that its debt problems are over. Three years ago, the emirate needed a $10 billion bail-out from neighboring Abu Dhabi to avoid default, and reporters described post-crash Dubai as "a ghost town" and a microcosm of everything that had gone wrong in the world financial crisis. Now, it looks like the city is back to its old self, with real estate again surging and the economy growing at a rate of four percent.
Why pay for PR when you can purchase a Lamborghini instead? Nearby Qatar has had a Lambo Gallardo on the force since 2009.
All images: Reuters/Ahmed Jadallah.