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Lets be honest and truthful here. If you see an unmarked squad car exceeding the speed limit, you have no idea what they may be doing, except speeding. It is common practice for both unmarked and marked squad cars to not turn their sirens on within the last several blocks of a crime scene if the suspects are still unaware of police presence. You wouldn't want the criminals to know you're coming would you? The element of surprise and all that.

I personally never saw the police cruisers speeding as an abuse of power, but rather a logistics matter. If a cop went the speed limit on a highway, everyone else would pack in behind the cruiser, terrified to pass for fear of getting a ticket. Such a situation could turn dangerous situation kinda quick as everyone began to move in a huge clot behind the cop.

Out on the highway or interstate, a cop's job is to be seen. Visibility is what keeps people from driving like they're on the Autobahn.

I do agree that the running a red light using the siren is a total and pretty shitty abuse of power.

Update: British police pursuit drivers have standing instructions to drive either 10 mph higher or lower than the speed limit to avoid the 'bunching up' effect. I don't know if this is policy in the States, but it makes sense.
Thanks to Withnail for the info.

Let's play "Good Cop, Bad Cop."

Yes. There are some dishonest cops out there. I've never seen or heard of what LordOmar describes, however I have seen my share of cops who feel they can drive however they want. Things like speeding, lack of turn signals, etc.

However, there are some police officers who go out of their way to abide by the law.

A few weeks ago, I saw the coolest display of this attitude. Our office building has two entrances to the parking lot. One is used as an enter only, and the other is used for both entering and exiting. Lots of people exit through the "Enter Only" ramp, and I myself have done so a few times.

There are two clearly placed signs on each side of the one-way ramp that say "DO NOT ENTER" when you go the wrong way.

There was a police cruiser in our parking lot, and he was on his way out. He started to drive out the entrance ramp, saw the DO NOT ENTER signs, and actually backed his car up, and drove to the proper exit.

I was impressed.

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