The San Francisco Police Department (abbreviated as SFPD) is the main law enforcement which appears in Watch Dogs 2. They patrol and serve San Francisco. A smaller but similar police force serves and patrols Oakland, the Oakland Police Department (abbreviated as OPD).
Most San Francisco and Oakland police personnel wear blue uniforms, with some wearing short or long sleeve uniforms and a "POLICE" patch on both shoulders. When the situation requires it, officers may wear external vests or wield heavier weapons and becoming more armored. Most officers wear a police hat. Police dogs are equipped with kevlars to protect themselves from gunfire and stabbings.
SFPD SWAT units wear black uniforms with heavy and armored black external kevlars. Regular SWAT Units wear tougher armor and are usually armed with Goblins, on the other hand, a SWAT Enforcer boasts a much tougher armor and are usually armed with an automatic shotgun.
All SFPD and OPD patrol cars are black and white with a San Francisco or Oakland stripes on the sides, depending the place as well as a line "EMERGENCY 911" on rears of the cruisers. All cars are equipped with spotlights, motorola, blue and red LED lights and emergency sirens.
- Small blue dot: Police Officer on foot.
- Big blue dot: Police vehicle/boat currently in use.
- Red rectangle: Police Roadblock
- Red and Blue flashing helicopter: Police Helicopter currently in use.
All dots will flash blue and red colors if they are responding to something.
While not perfect, the Police A.I is better than in Watch Dogs. The police now react realistically to Marcus' actions and will also react to other NPCs realistically and much better than the predecessor. Police officers will usually apprehend the player more often unless the player is actively resisting arrest by either refusing to pull over as ordered to do so, speeding when already being chased or even walking/running away from officers on foot which at this point all officers in vicinity will engage with lethal force on the player.
While the police will react if Marcus does certain crimes such as wielding firearms in the street, run over a civilian, steals a car and a lot more, other NPCs are not excluded to such crimes. The police will also attempt to arrest other NPCs or even gangsters (By either framing them up or gangsters themselves breaking the law), this way it provides the player more ground support as well as a distraction for the player to continue his mission safely long as he does not get involved. However, gangsters often turn resisting arrest into a gunfight and police officers are usually short-lived.
Most citizens will surrender peacefully to the police. However, as described above gang members will usually fight back or run away. If an NPC attempts to run away from police, they are chased and tackled if the police catch them, which they usually end up doing. Police officers will also initiate a vehicle pursuit if the citizens or gangsters they are chasing after are currenty fleeing in vehicle.
Another brand system seemingly has added in the sequel. While the player has themselves a Heat Level system, enemy NPCs also have a heat level system for them as well. For example, if a gangster has killed several police officers in an area, SWAT may eventually respond in Talos or even MRAP.
Unlike Chicago PD, San Francisco or Oakland police officers will not hesitate to pose themselves for a photo if Marcus are trying to pull a photo on them, indicating certain officers are happy enough to take a photo by the player. An emoticon system has been implemented where it indicates certain moods on officers. Happy or Excited officers will not hesitate to pose for a photo. Furious officers will warn the player to leave, and if they (the player) fail to do so, the police officer will push the player backwards. Failure to listen to further orders will result in getting tazed which does little damage. Strangely enough, an officer may get involved in an argument with another officer, resulting either of them pushed and tazed. This rarely happens.
On top of that, police officers will not condone any harassment by the player. If the player chooses to insult a police officer repeatedly, they will get themselves arrested or shot, depending player's actions. Police can also be called on scene if a civilian reports another NPC for a certain crime, for example if a couple of civilians are involved in a physical alteration, resulting in either of them incapacitated, bystanders can dial 911, summoning one or two police cars on scene to arrest the aggressor. Civilians can also dial 911 if they hear gangsters opening fire on the streets.
Interestingly enough, if vehicle hacks are executed on an occupied patrol car repeatedly, the officers will get out of their vehicle and investigate the source of hack. Police officers may also disable ctOS if Marcus executes some hack abilities around the area. If the player or a gangster opens fire in the air, the police will also investigate the source of gunfire and may radio in a backup unit.
San Francisco and Oakland police forces employ police dogs as well as female police officers. Female and male police officers have no behavioral differences. Police boats also make an appearance and give chase to the player if they are on the sea, bay, or close to the sea. Police officers will also wear external kevlars at two or later heat levels, making themselves more armored and a bit difficult to be killed, especially SWAT units.
Unfortunately, Police A.I also has some negative sides. While the Police A.I has greatly been improved to a great extend and is much more realistic, it still got some odd behavior. Police officers will often abandon their patrol cars and jog endlessly around the map until they are despawned, thus making it hard to spot a proper foot patrol officer. However, police officers jogging around will still react to certain crimes committed by the player or NPC.
Police officers in search mode are still cheated but to lesser extend. Police cars will only drive around the area and never approach the player. No foot officers spawn on the area either. However, it has been noted that police cruisers are sometimes cheated by using double speed in order to catch up to the player. This can be easily noticed if the player is driving a police cruiser and being caught up in long distance by the police.
The police no longer chase the player for traffic law violations such as speeding and/or vehicle collisions.
Only one police helicopter at a time can give a chase against the player at heat level 3 or later. All police helicopters will have a regular SWAT unit in them taking the position as marksman and shooting at the player periodically at four heat level and onwards. However, unlike the predecessor, the marksmen can miss shots fairly easily if the player is driving too fast or dodges the shots constantly.
If a gangster opens fire at the helicopter, the marksman will usually shoot back. Police helicopters will never spawn if a gangster kills a large number of police personnel, as they spawn only if the player has more than 3 heat levels. However, if Marcus is trying to frame someone who is on a boat, away from the city, a police helicopter may spawn and shine the spotlight on the framed suspect and a cop officer will spawn to detain him/her.
San Francisco and Oakland police forces employ police dogs to patrol in the streets as well as assist their human partner. Police dogs are very useful for the agencies as they can spot the player very quickly in search mode from long distance, making escape on foot difficult. However, they usually spawn at mid or late heat levels and aren't so nuisance but they do cause moderate damage to the player, killing the player after a few attacks.
SWAT also employs police dog units at later heat levels. Marcus can incapacitate a dog by using thunder ball or by shooting at it as they are very weak but that will trigger more heat level on the player.
This unit coordinates with the FBI, DEA, and ATF. They train in-house and with FBI and private military firms. They are an elite unit of law enforcement.
SWAT is a special and tactical unit of the San Francisco and Oakland Police forces who are dispatched into police chase at four and five heat levels. At this case, regular officers are being withdrawed and are replaced by SWAT regular units who are always armed with GOBLIN and will be driving Talos and MRAP.
At five heat levels, a very heavy SWAT unit, an Enforcer, gets into combat and is the driver of every MRAP with the passenger being a regular SWAT Unit. All enforcers are armed with ATSG-12 and are very dangerous foes for the player to combat with, especially where all passengers of every police cruiser begin to shoot through the window at the player, making escape very difficult and dangerous.
San Francisco and Oakland Police Departments strictly enforce the law to everyone and will not turn a blind eye on illegal factions. While the police can not involve in faction conflict with regular civilians, they can however get in faction conflict against a gang member of a faction such as Tezcas, the 580, etc. If a message that the police is in conflict with a certain illegal faction, gangsters most of the time resist arrest and begin shooting at the police until they are killed or themselves killed. Sometimes if a large number of police personnel are called into an action, SWAT may eventually be dispatched against the gangsters even though the Marcus is on active heat with only two triangles. Police can be summoned by civilians if two illegal factions are in conflict each other, thus making shootout pretty chaotic and very dangerous for the Marcus to pass the area where three factions would be in conflict.
The Police will rarely get involved in shooting with legal factions as they rely more often on arrests of a member. Legal factions will never resist arrest and will never open fire at the police, however the police may open fire and kill legal faction members if they are found to shoot at Marcus or injure a civilian.
Oakland Police Department
If Marcus or a NPC commits a crime in Oakland area, only Oakland Police Department will respond as SFPD will not involve under any circumstances. However, there isn't much difference between the two agencies other than different colors on squad cars.
- The police will now arrest any pedestrian depending on the circumstances, unlike Watch Dogs.
- The police no longer rely on CTOS Scans to search for suspects. They often patrol around the city, unlike the first Watch Dogs, where police can rarely be seen patrolling or only be dispatched after a 9-11 call was made and a CTOS Scan was initiated.
- The more 911 calls the civilian executes on the player or other pedestrians, the more patrol cars will be dispatched. One 911 call means one cop car, two calls means two cars, etc.
- Unlike the Chicago Police Department, the SFPD has a male dispatcher, utilizes police dogs, and sends out female officers in addition to male officers.
- During the pre-release, police would be able to arrest fellow officers. This was eliminated in the official release.
- During the pre-release, police officers would summon multiple patrol cars when chasing armed suspects and vice versa. This ability was nerfed down possibly due to performance issues or the player could easily clear areas full of thugs. Police officers in Police Garages have the ability to call reinforcements, so if a gang attack is initiated on them, police officers can summon multiple patrol cars.
- The dispatch quotes are pretty similarly from the predecessor except they are voiced by a male dispatcher instead.
- While driving a police vehicle, one can hear the police dispatch radio.
- Only female officers use the megaphone to order the player to pull over. This also happens if there are no female officers in a patrol car. This is obviously a developer oversight.
- The SWAT officers seen in game lack helmets, except for Enforcers. Despite this, they can survive multiple headshots. This may be a developer oversight.
- Police officers still have the tendency to run over pedestrians, especially when making arrests in out of the way locations. This may be an A.I. bug that was never fixed.