Hollywood Police Driving Academy
What the Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy
does for marksmanship, this trope does for police driving. In Real Life
, it's largely assumed that most law enforcement personnel are trained professionals in specialised top-quality vehicles when it comes to Car Chases
. Their movie, television, video game, etc. counterparts, not so much. In fiction, especially if they're chasing the protagonists, they crash into fruit and/or vegetable carts
, get cut off by closing railroad crossings and opening draw bridges, drive their vehicles into ditches or off cliffs, and run into any number of other snafus a real police officer (or anyone with a learner's permit) would know to avoid if at all possible.... and needless to say, the film-writers have apparently never even heard
of police helicopters, since there's 'nary a one to be seen.
See also Car Chase
and the subtrope Lemming Cops
, which dials up the idiocy to ridiculous levels. Tends to hang out at the donut shop
with Bad Cop/Incompetent Cop
and Police Are Useless
- In an issue of Sin City, Marv and Dwight lead a squad car right into Old Town where the prostitutes promptly blast the crap out of the car and send the cops scurrying.
- Bookhunter: We only ever see the library police driving when they're in a legitimate hurry to get somewhere—so every time, they're driving fast enough to go airborn on any incline, and barely maintaining control of the vehicle as they screech through turns.
Live Action Television
- The Ur-Example, The Keystone Cops - they are incompetent at everything they do, sometimes what they do is drive.
- The Gumball Rally and Cannonball Run feature a collection of the Academy's finest from all across the USA.
- James Bond encounters many of the academy's fine graduates in the movies where he's in the United States.
- Sheriff Loomis and his men from the 1980s cult classic The Wraith clearly also received their training at the academy.
- The Blues Brothers: The cops who pursue Elwood and Jake. The ones who chase them in the sequel are the advanced class, to the point where it breaks the Suspension of Disbelief. At least when they confront the pileup at the end of Lower Wacker Drive in the first film, the cops stop.
- Some cops seen chasing the protagonists in the Disney movie Freaky Friday (the original).
- The ATF agents involved in the opening Chase Scene from the movie Black Dog.
- The Trope Maker and founder of the academy, Sheriff Buford T. Justice of Smokey and the Bandit.
- With the added bonus that the character was named for a Real Life highway patrolman!
- 'The 'Smokey and the Bandit'' sequels feature some of the Academy's valedictorian graduates— Summa Cum Laude.
- In Unstoppable, near the end, several police cars acting as an escort for Ned end up crashing on a tight turn. Mind you, Ned is in a pickup truck and he made that turn perfectly.
- That's because that maneuver requires precision. Which is something Ned, as Lead Welder, is quite familiar with.
- Mad Max: Max Rockatansky was a police officer prior to the collapse of civilization. He also was apparently valedictorian of the Australian branch of the academy.
- In Logorama, police played by Michelin Men show no regard for the M&Ms they run over. Or anyone else, for that matter. Anything to stop Ronald McDonald.
- The Presidio shows that both the San Francisco Police Department and the United States Army Military Police send their personnel to the Academy for their training.
Manga and Anime
- Sheriff Rosco P Coltrane of Dukes Of Hazzard, the academy's chief driving instructor.
- Sheriff Elroy P. Lobo (BJ and the Bear, The Misadventures of Sheriff Lobo) may have preceded Rosco Coltrane as chief instructor, if his own department is any testament.
- Lampshaded in the Title Sequence of The Misadventures of Sheriff Lobo which not only shows clips of various crashes in the series, but ends with Lobo, who's been doing a one-man Power Walk between his deputies who are waiting by their squad cars, dramatically ordering them to "Move 'em out!", then Face Palming as they all crash into each other.
- Meldrick Lewis from Homicide: Life on the Street must have been an honor student.
- From The Sentinel, Jim is infamous for the number of trucks he's wrecked, to the point that it's almost impossible for him to get good insurance. Every Car Chase involves gratuitous Fruit Cart destruction, numerous "orange"-light runs, and any passengers cowering in their seats.
Blair Sandburg: "Jim, that's a red light. Jim, there are pedestrians in the road! Jim, slow down! Jim!!"
- Averted by Ponch and Jon on CHiPs but turned Up to Eleven with the rest of the California Highway Patrol and just about everyone else driving the Southern California freeways.
- Gloriously averted in the Due South episode Heaven and Earth. Two random cops manage to start the car chase by driving backwards (the suspect took off in the opposite direction while they were parked), executing a hairpin turn before taking off after him forwards. The rest of the chase shows that the Chicago PD had to send their officers to the Badass Driver Academy for training instead.
- Grand Theft Auto series. The Police, Ambulance-drivers, and — to an even greater degree — the FBI-agents. The general level of crazy driving varies a lot from game to game.
- Grand Theft Auto had cops that were rather hard to shake, Grand Theft Auto 2 was similar, though slightly easier.
- Grand Theft Auto 3 - the cops could keep up with you on a straight road if you had an average car.
- Grand Theft Auto: Vice City - The cops learned from the Hazard County Sheriffs. Then did a lot of blow, apparently!
- Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas - The police would rather kamikaze you with their cars. San Andreas has a well-supported PIT maneuver mechanic, so there can be method to their madness.
- Grand Theft Auto IV - Despite its more serious take on the series, the cops would rather sit at the side of the road and watch you speed by in a crippled minivan. This time the game spawns new cops ahead of you instead of making AI good enough to actually chase you. When they do chase, they almost drive reasonably.
- If you happen to be standing at the bottom of a cliff, any cops at the top will gleefully drive off to their deaths.
- In Chinatown Wars for the DS, where the cops were memorably described in Zero Punctuation as "having brick wall magnets attached to their bumpers."
- The cops in Need for Speed games are easily shut down, except when you play as them.