O’Fallon, Mo. police roll out stealth Mustang for special operations, task force pursuits

The St. Charles County Criminal Interdiction Task Force reports 727 arrests, 64 guns seized and the recovery of 29 stolen vehicles since its inception in February 2021.
O’Fallon, Mo. police roll out stealth Mustang for special operations, task force pursuits
O’Fallon, Mo. police roll out stealth Mustang for special operations, task force pursuits
Published: May. 2, 2023 at 7:04 PM CDT
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ST. CHARLES COUNTY (KMOV) -- The O’Fallon Police Department is taking a new approach to stopping car thieves and other criminal activity as it prepares to put its new Mustang patrol car to use.

The Mustang will be used for special operations, according to the department, designed to help officers end pursuits safely and quickly by allowing officers to keep pace with suspected car thieves.

“You can’t outrun the radio, but it’s important for officers to be able to give real-time information about what’s occurring because the primary goal is to keep the citizens safe and end the pursuit as quick as possible,” said Sgt. Bryan Harr of the O’Fallon Police Department. “So, if the officer is able to actually see how the suspect is driving, that’s going to give us more information as to whether we’ll have time to get the stop sticks set up and end the pursuit safely or if it’s becoming too dangerous, we’ll end the pursuit.”

According to the St. Charles County Criminal Interdiction Task Force, of which O’Fallon is a part of, so far in 2023, it has made 109 arrests and engaged in 14 pursuits. Nine of the pursuits ended in arrests, while the other five were terminated. Since the task force began in February 2021, St. Charles County has seen a 25 percent decrease in car thefts and an 18 percent decrease in car break-ins, according to county police.

Many car break-ins originate in neighborhoods, as cameras often capture suspects pulling on car door handles looking for unlocked vehicles. Often, police say, suspects are looking for guns and other valuables. Unlocked cars are also being targeted for theft.

O’Fallon police said the Mustang will also be used in crime suppression operations within different areas and neighborhoods.

“It provides us some stealth because people don’t recognize it immediately as a police vehicle,” said Harr. “You see a police car, or they have a lookout, they have a better chance of getting away. This gives our officers an opportunity to maybe drive up on the crime occurring.”

Harr said the Mustang will also be used during community events, such as the department’s upcoming open house on May 13.

“It’s a talking point and it gives us an opportunity to engage with our citizens and explain to them how we’re using these tools to keep their community safe,” he said.

The department said the vehicle is not equipped with radar, and only three officers are specifically trained to operate it. The department added it costs less to purchase and equip the Mustang than a traditional Ford Explorer police cruiser. According to the city, the Mustang is included in the department’s annual budget and is not the result of seizure money, which is money seized as the result of criminal investigations.