Police car styles

Where I live, all the cop cars are white. The only colors are on the lettering and decals.

I have seen the trend is becoming pretty widespread. Watching “Wildest Police Videos” I see a lot of all white cop cars.

Whatever happened to the ol’ black & white scheme?

Personally, I think cop cars look a lot more like, well, cop cars, when they are the classic two-tone B&W style.

Black & whites have seem to become a novelty around here, as our town has only two of that style. They are both D.A.R.E. vehicles used for promoting “drug abuse resistance education” for children.

I suspect the B&W scheme was dropped for any of the following reasons:
[li]aesthestic variety - B&W scheme “outdated?”[/li][li]frugality - (I honestly don’t believe this could result in a significant cost cut.)[/li][li]all of the above[/li][/ul]

I would like to see the B&W scheme make a comeback. The two D.A.R.E. cruisers that our city has really stand out and look pretty damn intimidating.

Aesthetically speaking IMHO:[ul]
[li]White police cruisers rate about a seven on the “Oh shit! I better slow down or I’m gonna get a ticket!” meter.[/li][li]B&W police cruisers rate about a fiteen on the “Oh shit! I better slow down or I’m gonna get a ticket!” meter.[/ul][/li]
Anyone know why the two-tone B&W scheme is disappearing?

Does your city still have all B&W cruisers?

Anyone’s city have some really weird colored cop cars, like in the movie “Mad Max?” [sub](NOT to be confused with Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome)[/sub]

Australian cop cars have always tended to be all white. The black and white thing seems very American to me, and probably would rate about a 2 on my “Oh shit, I’d better slow down!” meter because I’d be too busy thinking “Cooool. Just like the Blues Bros!” I like the b&w thing, but it looks dated.

I remember in the Seventies, some here were blue, and a very few others just came in one of the various factory colours available to equivalent private vehicles. A few burnt-orange ones, IIRC.

My hometown has both and neither. New York State Troopers drive navy blue cars with lettering on them, I think, although there are a couple of black-and-whites based in the Trooper barracks in town. The county sheriff runs white cars with red lettering. I’ve seen, on my Big Trip between New York and Texas, cars that were silver and blue, sky blue and silver, green and white, navy blue and white, navy blue and silver… Most of the two-tones I’ve seen have been one color on top and another on the bottom, like production two-tones from the '50s. Only rarely (as in the Trooper barracks black-and-whites) have I seen what I assume is the traditional black-car-with-white-doors look.

These are the kind that scare me

regular old FHP
The whole damned fleet

The increase in solid white cars could be a cost saving measure. For example, the US Forest Service is no longer painting all its vehicles green. All the new ones are white. The reasoning is that they don’t have to pay extra for a custom color/ paint job and they have a higher resale value.

We have about five different police forces here in Berkeley, CA. All use different color schemes. But the regular BPD uses B&W, I think.
We also have UC cops, Bart cops, Alameda Co. sheriff, some CHP, and one other I can’t think of right now.
I read somewhere (I know, I know) that obvious markings on patrol cars increase traffic safety stats. But ticket revinue goes down. Who knows.
Side question;
Do any cops, in any city, use foreign cars?

Florida’s got (or had) a Corvette, too, if I recall correctly.

Here in New York, there’s a Trooper car on Long Island that I think is a Firebird or Camaro.

It’s gotten so in Houston that when I see a Camaro I tend to assume it’s a cop. Well, that’s beginning to abate - I think they found out that giving the cops a bunch of race cars might not have been such a great idea.

But we definitely had a cop Camaro plague going for a few years.

To try and address the OP: HPD cars for years wore the standard city blue with white tops until the early '90s when they decided that a manufacturer (Ford) supplied blue (deeper and glossier) would do without the white tops. Shortly thereafter they signed on to the current trend of cop cars being white with applique graphics. So, HPD now runs three different configurations, at least until the older cars are phased out.

When you consider all of our other policing agencies, it’s not too surprising to happen upon a crime scene and find five or six different liveries in attendance. All of the Constable precincts run their own graphics, and Metro is yet their own entity.

Our State Troopers have always worn the traditional black and white, and reports are that morale is down with an experiment with all black Trooper cars.

Here in southern Ontario, the Toronto police have gone to a white car. I’m unsure when the switchover was made, but Toronto police cars used to be yellow. The same yellow as school buses.

York Region and Durham Region have white cars as well, but the Durham cars have big blue lettering–they might as well be two-tone.

The Ontario Provincial Police used to have the traditional black-and-white cars, but they now have white cars.

Interestingly, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police cars are blue and white, in the same pattern as the traditional black-and-white. At least they were the last time I saw one.

No idea as to why the black-and-white scheme is disappearing, though as you can tell, we only had a little of it. At least in my experience.

Well, in foreign cities they do!


Seriously, some cities in Quebec use Volvos for police cars. Aspen, Colorado has Saab 9000 cruisers.

Ok, elmwood, do any foreign city police use american cars? As patrol cars, that is.
Huh, Mr. Smarty-pants?

Um, mangeorge doesn’t Aspen count?

I remember skiing there in the middle of March with some locals. We parked on the side of the road in a spot that may or may not have been legal. A blond cop pulls up in her Saab 9000 and yells at us “Where’s your green?! Get over here!” I assumed we needed a green parking sticker or something. We got to the window of the car, she puts some shamrock stickers on your jackets and says “Happy St Patrick’s Day!” and drives off.

I also believe that Falls Church VA had Volvos, donated or discounted by a politically connected Volvo dealer.

Those bright blue HPD cars were great! You could spot them 6 blocks away!

I’m from Morristown NJ, and they still use the traditional black and white cars. You can see the back end of one of them in the photo on this page:


I witnessed that fire, by the way.

-Andrew L

To some of us, American cities are foreign cities. :wink:

I hear the Tokyo police uses some European cars as unmarked police cars, namely Mercedes and BMW. The marked patrol cars in Japan are still all black and white. An American friend remarked that since Japanese streets are so colorful, the black and white police cars really stand out.

I didn’t know Toronto police cars were yellow. Don’t Americans mistake them for cabs?

In the Dallas area there’s a wide variety of paintjobs on police vehicles, but I don’t know of an area that uses the old black and white style. In Richardson, where I live, the police cars are blue with a darker blue stripe.

The Lapd still uses blacck and white cars

So does the la county sheriffs but they also have white “community police cars” These are for non violent based stuff " dogs barking too loud" ect

The other day we thought We seen them at a house down the street til we seen they were kern county sheriffs

In Germany I have never seen any foreign police car. They have mostly Volkwagen Passats or Caravelles or Opel Vectras or Astras. Sometimes you see a Ford Mondeo (which I would also consider a German car). Autobahn Police tend to have Mercedes E-Class or Opel Omega, and sometimes even Porsche 911.
Colours are usually green and white, but since about two or three years they changed it to silver with large green adhesive foil. Probably because they can sell silver cars better than green-white cars when they get sorted out from service.
Here in Finland the police cars are blue-white and nearly all of them are Ford Mondeo or VW Caravelle.

Mangeorge, Tiburon PD at one time used SAABs and a Suzuki Samurai. Close enough to Berkeley? Your CHP also uses Camaro Inteceptors in non- B&W paint without roof lights. You only know they are CHP by the door decals.

Although I’m not sure, I wouldn’t be surprised if that was part of the problem. I also remember that we had Yellow Cabs, so we may have all been mistaking them for taxis.

At any rate, police cars here are white now. And to answer another question that has come up, they are usually large American cars: Fords and Chevrolets and the like. I’m unsure if they still have them, but at one time, they were also running Chevy Camaros on the city expressways.