Introduction: Something that has been evident in past GTA games, but never fully utilized is the use of counties and jurisdictions. Counties are located in every state of the United States except for Alaska which uses Boroughs
(Lousiana uses parishes but they fall under the same basic county ideals). Counties have different leaders and laws from one another, but are often similar in terms of law. Each county also has a sheriff's office (elected position) or department (not elected). In some cases, the county sheriff will provide policing services to areas and towns that do not have their own municipal police force. This can also be said about a state police, that is often divided up by region or jurisdiction. I feel Rockstar could make the game a lot more immersive if Rockstar ever fully implemented the idea of sheriff's offices/state police. Lets take a somewhat in depth look at past GTA's that feature this counties and jurisdictions. I realize this topic has been discussed, but I want to take it in a bit different direction.
SAN ANDREAS: What I loved about San Andreas was the countryside, and the mix of different environments. There were also counties in San Andreas. Take a peak at them in this little map I made showing the counties and all the towns in the game.
Los Santos, San Fierro, and Las Venturas were never explained to be a part of any county, though I made the assumption they were in their own county of the same name. What puzzled me in San Andreas was that there were counties, and building for the county sheriff in almost every county. Below are a few images of the sheriff's offices
Tierra Robada County Sheriff.
Bone County Sheriff.
Whetstone County Sheriff.
Yet even with these various sheriff offices, there were no courthouses except in the major cities like Los Santos, Las Venturas, and San Fierro. Even more puzzling was how there were various uniforms for the counties, yet they all shared the same badge of the San Andreas State Police! What? State Police? Why are they headquartered in sheriff's offices? Aren't they sheriffs or state police? Well, that brings me to my next subject is the state police.
The game had a badge and logo for the state police scene on the Rangers parked at rural sheriff stations. I love the idea of various forms of law enforcement ranging from the sheriff department up to the state police. San Andreas had all those levels but didn't properly implement it. They had various sheriff buildings (most likely the county seat of each county) but didn't give them unique sheriff car designs. Would it be so hard to give each county a different logo or design? What might be more difficult is to manage when and where these cars spawn and when they disappear between county lines. State patrol cars could be seen patrolling highways as and maybe have county sheriff cars patrolling back country roads and smaller towns. A few towns in San Andreas also seemed like they could have had their own municipal police force, but they didn't A fine two examples would be Palimino Creek and Fort Carson, but like everything else outside of LS, SF, and LV, they had the state police / sheriff cars.
So in short, a simple implementation of law enforcement divisions would have been nice.
GTA IV: GTA IV had two cities. Did you know they had two cities? Did you also know it was a portion of two states? Alderney Island was a different state and city then Liberty City. The game made this apparent in police uniforms and game files. You had Liberty City being on the (New York) side and Alderney City on the (New Jersey) side. Now this is pretty interesting. Game files and law enforcement uniforms varied in each area.
On the Alderney Island side of things, police uniforms changed away from the LCPD and became Alderney State Police officers with a lighter blue uniform and different police patch. But sadly, Rockstar didn't follow through with possible their original intentions and gave these officers the exact same patrol cars as the LCPD with the same markings. Why didn't they get Alderney City and Alderney State Police cars instead of LCPD cars?
GTA V and the future: So we know the next GTA will take place in a re-imagined Southern California and Los Santos, from the mountain tops to the deep sea below. I know it is doubtful, but will Rockstar make differences in municipal, county, and state police? So lets imagine Los Santos has their own police (which we have already seen). Okay great. But outside of Los Santos, will the countryside have a county sheriff's office? If so, will it have a different design the the same black and white cars as the LSPD? Will their be state police?
Fictional County Sheriff Cruiser
It is as easy as that. They can even use the same car model, but have a different design or completely different colors! Assuming there are a few small towns outside in that countryside, I think it would be beneficial to have a sheriff's office and a county courthouse. Imagine being pursued by a county sheriff. Smaller agency sure, with maybe not as good of materials as the big city, but they are still doing their best to stop you. Or just driving into a small town past the courthouse and seeing sheriff cars parked out front. The small town knows the sheriff and the deputies. It would be a cool feeling and really be a nice implementation.
So my question to you. Would you like this implementation and why do you think they never included it fully before, even though Rockstar made all the files and uniforms and badges, town social structures, etc? Rockstar has always been great at making towns realistically (Especially the small towns in San Andreas) and it would be great to make the game even better jurisdictions and fully implement counties and the county sheriff's office.
Thank you for your time.
UPDATE INDEX (Click to view Updates)
Update 1: Sheriff Image 1 LSPD Vehicle Breakdown, Van/Wagon Page 2
Update 2: Sheriff SUVs breakdown Page 2
Update 3: Sheriff Car and SUV re-draw and re-breakdown with hand-made designs based on photos Page 3
Update 4: New Sheriff SUV photos, a breakdown, wanted systems, and helicopter Page 3
Update 5: Grapeseed map and county, municipal, and state jurisdiction ideas Page 4
Update 6: Fictional Map Of San Andreas Page 4
Update 7: New Vapid Police Cruisers and Ideas and Predictions Page 4
Update 8: Buffalo Cruiser confirmed, Sheriff SUV & possibly image of SAHP Page 5
Update 9: Full Model Design of Next Generation Vapid Cruiser Page 6
Update 10: Full Model Design of Law Enforcement SUV Page 6
Update 11: New Info, No Blaine County Sheriff Yet, Los Santos Sheriff Breakdown, and LSPD Info Page 9
Update 12: Variable Lightbars, Unit Numbers, Amount of Units In Pursuit, and breakdown of Gameplay video Page 11
Update 13: Online Video Breakdown, Buffalo Bravado Discussion Page 20
Okay, so lets break it down even further. We are having a great discussion here and would love to see more people involved.
So let me make a fictional county and include Grapeseed, which we can assume is a small farming community or area in GTA V. For the purposes of this demonstration, I will make Grapeseed a town big enough to have a municipal police force and nearby to a larger community which happens to be the county seat of this "unknown" county Grapeseed is located in. To make things easier, lets just say GRAPESEED is in a county called "Forest." So we will call it Forest County, located in the state of San Andreas. lets take a peak at it.
Okay, there we are. A fictional county named Forest County. You can see main roads, a large freeway that goes through the county, and lots of countryside and agriculture.... since Grapeseed is surrounded by agriculture. To the north and east of Grapeseed we see mountainous terrain since we can see mountains in the Grapeseed image. Let us take it a step further and see this same map, but now with law enforcement thrown in. We will add the state level enforcement (state police/patrol), a county level enforcement (sheriff's office), and municipal level enforcement (city/town police department). Check it out below.
Awesome. There we go. Seems pretty realistic. In all cases, a sheriff's office will have a headquarters, usually in the same town that is the county seat. That means it is the head of government for the county. They often have a courthouse and jail within the town or city it is located in. If the county is big in terms of size or heavily populated, a sheriff's office may need multiple stations so deputies don't have to always start from the headquarters which may be far from isolated points within their jurisdiction. So for this instance, I made two substations. You can see them on the map. One to the right by a smaller settlement and one to the left out towards the mountains past Grapeseed. The main sheriff's office has units that patrol the central portion of the county. Self explanatory. Their jurisdiction is the entire county, in this case, Forest County. They patrol towns without a police force, and towns that contract with them for services.
You will note the green dot denotes a state patrol office, which is from the state level. The state patrol (or state police) will patrol the county freeways, highways, and biways, and tent to overlap jurisdictions of county level and municipal level agencies. Their authority is the entire state and they can be seen anywhere at anytime. In this instance, they have a state patrol office along the main freeway for easy access to patrol the freeways of the state. This is the portion of the state they focus on and other areas and counties may have a state patrol office as well. It is a large state after all.
For this example, the map has two municipal police agencies, and they patrol the town or city they are located in. They will still work with other agencies of course. Just because a speeder starts within their town limits and leaves, doesn't mean they will stop. They will contact the county sheriff or state police for further help, but probably follow as long as they are needed. So in this map, I gave Grapeseed their own municipal force (though they probably won't have one in the game) and the larger town has one too. Just for kicks and giggles...
Okay, lets zoom in again and focus on the larger town and Grapeseed.
This map shows the northern portion of the larger town and Grapeseed. It shows all the same law enforcement agencies, but zoomed in, and you can see more main roads. I also added "city limits" to show where the municipal agencies jurisdictions end. But remember, they can go beyond it. If law enforcement in a neighboring town needs help, they will help. But this is just to give a rough idea how Rockstar could implement this idea. Just have municipal cars spawn within the city limits, and beyond that would be county sheriff cars in non city zoned land. Also along freeways and major highways, they can add state patrol. Seems reasonable enough.
I hope you enjoyed this presentation and happy day after Easter and April Fools day!
Generalized GTA Map Focusing On Smaller Jurisdictions
I decided to take a stab at making a rough GTA V map. By no means is this to scale or accurate... but it has things in generalized areas based off of what I've seen in trailers and screenshots. Hopefully this makes some sense. I will explain it more below. This map also features the scenes from the recent Episilon Program teaser. I also tried to make plausible guesses on towns and areas we know very little about, and they seem reasonable... at least to me. So enjoy. Note the grey fog bank just separates areas and is truly unknown.
1. Number one is what I have guessed to be a prison, as have many others. I also think that 1 and 8 on this map are the same thing, but I have two locations marked. 8 is possibly the wrong spot and probably the location of an airfield we have seen in a trailer. But both the images for one and 8 show palm trees in the correct spots to each other and the same circular formation of structures. It might be a prison or something else, but would be a cool prison for role players. Try escaping prison with nothing be dessert and a 4 lane freeway nearby.
2. My estimation of the Alamo Sea settlement, which seems to stretch along the southwest and southern shore of the inland sea. The landscape is scrubland, not greenery and trees.
3. This could really be anywhere, but is most likely east of Zancudo Mountain because of the view and angle we are looking at it.
4. We know nothing about this place, but based on the sign as you enter the town, I would say this town is located away from the main freeway and along a rural highway. Signs probably point to the freeway. It is in a desert region. The town looks depressed with not much active business, which makes me think the freeway bypasses the town by quite some distance.
5. Note this town is located beneath that fog bank on the northwest corner of my map above. I think this town is at the base of a large mountain... duh, you can see it in the photo, but I also think this town is similar to Angel Pine in San Andreas. I think it will be off the Coast Freeway, inland a bit, and surrounded by a more lush green forested area. Possibly at the end of one of those long river valleys. Anyways, I think it will be north, to northwest. My guess is the map becomes more green the further north you go. I also have a guess a tunnel into a mountain is nearby here, the one that goes across a big valley, same as the bridge scene with the train and hang glider. Where's Grapeseed?
6. Just a guess on where this airfield is. You can see structures in the distance of this photo, which some think is part of a city skyline, or could be smokestacks to an industrial complex, since we know of one major one in Los Santos.
7. This little section is a map separated from the rest, because we don't know anything about this region or if it is even a part of GTA V. I separated it with fog. From the Epsilon Program teaser, we see a lighthouse and another shot with what appears to be a highway, my guess the coast highway or 101 parody. This is the same highway we see in a screenshot with a motorcycle and a sign that reads "Bay City Avenue." This scene is just far north of that up in a rural seaside area.
8. Same as 1. Read it.
9. This is somewhere out in the scrublands to dessert region. Something makes me think it is close to location 4 on the map, but I have no real proof.
10. This would tie into the lighthouse sorta... they are both north, we just don't know how far. This seems to be a parody of the Big Sur region and the Bixby Bridge. It can be seen at the end of those shots with the forested river valleys.
11. Just for reference, there is the Zancudo River.
12. In the background of this scene we see trees and a forested area and mountain base. So it is safe to say this building is in a transition zone that changes from scrubland to a more dry ponderosa/pine type eco region.
13. That there is the train bridge. Zancudo Mtn... if that is the mountain there, appears to have two rivers on each side, both different and forested.
14. Though this is artwork, and not exactly canon, the background shows a mountain that is not as arid as others... so it seems to be in a transition zone, or at least visibly near a more lush area, similar to 12.
This leaves me with the important question as to where the HECK is Grapeseed? Is it related to 4? I don't think so. The farming fields would need more room then what 4 shows... and farming isn't exactly popular next to mountains on the American west coast. Though Grapeseed doesn't look very arid, so it is on a more wet side of a mountain range.
Those are just some of my thoughts and ideas, feel free to add.