Did American police departments ever use marked minivans as police vehicles, and for what role?

I noticed in a lot of movies written in the 80’s and 90’s they would usually put a minivan in full police colors as part of a police vehicle lineup in certain scenes. I remember RoboCop used them, and this scene in Predator 2 uses a police minivan prominently as a background prop.

I understand full size vans are used by the police for prison transportation or other times they need to carry a lot of gear into the field but I’m curious if a police minivan was ever used as a standard vehicle by anyone and what a minivan could do a full size van couldn’t. Google Imaged Searching Police MiniVan shows me a few scattered examples but those seem like weird exceptions.

Absolutely.

Our community resource officer (non-sworn, unarmed) has one, and our K9 officer has one. Our school liaison officer had one but I don’t think they do any more.

We did have one that was used for transports, cage and all. But it got really old and they got rid of it.

We never had one that was used for routine patrol, however. Not that I recall anyway.

You can get armored minivans.

Neat, I already do drive a Sienna, I could swap it out and nobody would know I got an armored momvan =)

I did see a police livery smart car in the Albany NY area a couple years back =)

My local community uses marked pickup trucks as general utility vehicles.
Usually to haul cones & barriers.

Any reason to pick a minivan over an SUV? I thought when police needed larger vehicles with more internal space they usually picked a full size SUV as a vehicle.

I have no idea.

Trust me, if they consulted me on such issues my squad certainly wouldn’t be a goddamned Chevy Impala.

I got nothing against Chevy per se (I own a Vette and a Silverado) but the Impala currently is the worst squad package made. I hate it!

The Cleveland Police Department has a few minivans in police livery that are used for CSI, carrying equipment like crowd barriers, conveying prisoners, etc.

I’ve noticed that the Secret Service uses unmarked minivans (invariably black) in motorcades, I presume to carry a lot of agents at once.

The officers in the local PD’s educational program travel in at least one minivan.

Imgur

Looking over the list of current police vehicles on Wikipedia, it looks like if you want a police “car” instead of a police SUV, your choices are pretty limited. On Wikipedia’s list it’s either the Impala or a Dodge Charger. I’m guessing that budgetary minded police forces are going to choose the Impala.

You have my sympathies.

It could be worse. There’s a picture of a Toyota Prius owned by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police on that page.

They use them as unmarked units as well. I’ve seen plenty of people pulled over by them. I’m sure they weren’t expecting that minivan on the side street to be a speed trap.

Evidence techs, canine units

Years back there was a department around here that had a Chevy Celebrity for a marked squad.

That list must be only for new vehicles. Still plenty of Fords 'round here.

There’s a few departments that have Teslas as squad cars. Most of the ones I read about have Model 3s, but at least one has a Model Y.

Ford had “Police Interceptor variants” for several auto models, including the Crown Victoria (from 1992 until 2011) and the Taurus (from 2012 until 2019; I suspect that the ones in your pictures are Tauruses).

IIRC, it was the discontinuation of each of the two models by Ford which led to their demise as police interceptors, as well – today, the only actual car that Ford offers as a new model in the U.S. is the Mustang.