Dubai imagines a Bugatti Veyron as its latest useless cop car

After acquiring a Lamborghini Aventador, Ferrari FF and an Aston-Martin One-77 for its overexposed police force, Dubai public safety officials revealed last week that they'd soon snap up the only supercar left out of their set: a Bugatti Veryon, which starts at $1.4 million and goes from there. If only they could find some spare change to hire competent Photoshop artists.

The composite picture above had been circulating a few days before it was shared on Twitter today by the lieutenant general of the Dubai police force. Last week, another official said the fleet would be stationed around Dubai's top tourist attractions — such as the Burj Khalifa, the world's tallest building scaled by Tom Cruise in "Mission: Impossible 4" — with both men and women patrol officers, mainly as an advertisement for the city's urbanity: "One of our top priorities is to introduce things that are in line with the UAE (United Arab Emirates) and Dubai’s reputation."

It's an image of astonishing wealth that Dubai has sought to craft over the past several years — and yet Dubai has relatively little oil, depending on trade, tourism and real estate instead. Operating as essentially a nation-state inside the Emirates, Dubai wants to be known as the global gateway between the Middle East and cosmopolitan capitals like New York, London and Shanghai. Yet that image has been sullied by its reliance on immigrant labor, strict laws that often call for debtors to be thrown in prison and a 2009 bailout in the global recession where Dubai had to borrow $20 billion from other emirates in 2009.

Dubai's economy has rebounded, although not quite to its pre-recession levels, but enough so that its government feels comfortable spending a few million dollars on fancy cars with police lights to use as yet another gawker attraction. Money can buy Dubai the fastest, most luxurious police fleet in the world — but the world's greatest cities get that way by offering real opportunity behind the bright lights.