They call it the "ghost car." And it's pretty impressive, pictured with one of the North Carolina Highway Patrol's newest Bell helicopters hovering in the background.
Alas, the photo didn't beat out the Nebraska Highway Patrol photo — the one with a tornado in the background — in the 2019 Best-Looking Cruiser Contest sponsored by the American Association of State Troopers.
“Nebraska, they cheated,” Sgt. Chris Knox said and chuckled. “It was a straight-up cheat, you can’t put a tornado in the picture.”
Still, North Carolina’s photo came in seventh out of the 42 submitted by state police agencies nationwide.
And that’s good enough to put it on the 2020 wall calendar that will be sold online at www.statetroopers.org in late September. Net proceeds of the calendar sales will benefit the American Association of State Troopers Foundation, which provides educational scholarships to dependents of foundation members.
In last year's contest, North Carolina placed third — losing out to Kentucky State Police for the top prize. North Carolina placed fifth in 2017.
During two weeks this July, 394,572 votes were cast in the contest via SurveyMonkey. Nebraska’s photo got 68,320, while North Carolina’s garnered 17,169.
"We enjoy the light-hearted competitiveness of this," Knox said. "We pick fun with each other and each other’s design."
Seriously, though, “I give it to them,” Knox said said of Nebraska's entry. “They captured an amazing photo.”