article and photos by John Brennan
The National Police Parade on Aquidneck Island is held each year in Rhode Island to honor police officers killed in the line of duty. The event draws officers and emergency-vehicle owners from all over the country each year.
Rain managed to hold back —just barely — for this year's Police Parade. The route runs along West Main Road in Middletown into Newport via Broadway and ends at the Newport Police Station. The parade lasted just about two hours with an estimated 4,000 participants and 70,000 spectators. This year's Grand Marshalls were family members of Middletown Police Officer Thomas Cabral, who passed away suddenly in late December, 2008.
The parade starts in Middletown and follows West Main Road and Broadway to end in Newport. Both towns are located on Aquidneck Island, giving the parade its name.
They were kind enough at the staging area to rearrange the cars so that most of the Mopars were together in a row. Special thanks to Ted Stockman for all of his help tracking down car owners and moving cars!
These cars are:
Ken Reid pulled up to Tom Weglarz for a meeting of different generation Gran Furys. The 1974 Plymouth Gran Fury (light blue) is on Chrysler’s big C-body chassis; the familiar M-body Plymouth Gran Fury on the left is descended from the 1970s A-bodies, the smallest cars Chrysler made in the United States at the time.
It looks like the Middletown Police went for the Hemi option, which makes sense. It runs on a thrifty four cylinders when idling, but opens up to eight when pursuing the bad guys. If the guys at the naval base are still running Crown Vics, the Middletown Police can fill in the gap.
Hey, Rhode Island truckers ... your decal is crooked. People seem to like it that way.
Phil Masso brought not one but two excellent cars — the New York Police Diplomat above, and the RI State Police Chrysler Newport below. There weren’t many Chrysler police cars (as opposed to Plymouth and Dodge), but there were years in which they were popular. After all, they ran Imperials in NASCAR for a while... and what could be more appropriate in Newport than a Newport?
Often, these old squad cars are not purchased looking like they just entered service. Allpar member Irie is still working on his Dodge Coronet cruiser:
The old Dodge drives away, a little rough around the edges, but hopefully it will be back, and better than ever when it returns.
Introduction | The basics of police car collecting | Who are collectors? Why do we collect?
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Shows: Chicagoland Emergency Vehicles Show | Aquidneck Island Police Car Parade (2008 | 2009)
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See the 2008 National Police Parade coverage
More info: National Police Parade on Aquidneck Island
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