There’s nothing worse than a State Trooper’s lights filling your rear view mirror, but you can’t deny the aesthetic appeal of a State Police car. A lot of states just opt for boring white or silver, but a few states in the union have very cool color schemes that are often steeped in history. Here’s a BoldRide look at five of the coolest State Police liveries in the country
Cruisers like those parked at barracks all over the Bay State have been the same colors since the late 1930s, according to State Police Sergeant David Paine, who we interviewed for The Boston Globe in 2002.
“In June of 1933, the Massachusetts State Police changed from forest green uniforms – like a forest ranger’s – to French blue shirts and electric blue pants,” said Paine.
The uniform was recognizable especially when the troopers were using their primary mode of transportation at the time, an Indian motorcycle, built in the Central Massachusetts town of Springfield.
As more and more troopers went into cruisers, though, the uniform was less of a distinctive feature on the road. Then in 1939, the Massachusetts State Police took its colors outside. The French blue and electric blue was duplicated from the uniform to the cruiser’s sheetmetal.
“The colors allow troopers to be recognized, even when inside their cars,” said Paine. “Those colors are a symbol of the troop.”
The CHP’s livery is ultra-traditional, to the point that the phrase “black-and-white” has become synonymous with “police car.” Black and white cruisers are favored by many police departments because the colors are unambiguous on the road.
Many departments – including the Los Angeles Police Department – use the most traditional scheme of a black car with four white doors and a white roof. The CHP is different to distinguish itself, featuring black rear doors, and white front doors and roof.
CHP cars also feature a large CHP door shield with seven points. The seven points represent character, integrity, knowledge, judgment, honor, loyalty and courtesy.
The Vermont State Police livery itself is pretty lame. Like New Hampshire’s it’s a Forest Green base that represents the Green Mountains for which it gets its name (both in French and English.) In the 1980s, the VSP was one of the last State Police agencies to continue using the old Dodge Diplomats, and the green base was matched with a horrifying safety yellow, with a single, blue rotating light on the roof. In recent years, the VSP has opted just for a reflective yellow decal that’s a lot less offensive.
What’s interesting about the Vermont State Police livery is the door emblem, specifically those in 2008 and 2009. The emblems were crafted by prison inmates, and featured – for generations – a cow, an evergreen tree, the mountains Camel’s Hump and Mount Mansfield, Lake Champlain, and three piles of something (either haystacks or some unidentifiable creature, depending on who you ask).
But in 2008, an incarcerated artist at the Northwest State Correctional Facility in Swanton, Vermont, snuck something subliminal into the logo: one of the cow’s spots was altered into the profile of a pig, the derogatory term for police officer. The VSP ordered about 60 of the decals, which made it onto cruisers and weren’t discovered until 2012.
The Wolverine State equips its State Police department with a range of vehicles all painted a single, distinctive color. Per Michigan State Police specifications, all of the cruisers are painted Dulux 93-032, a very noticeable, bright blue color that’s completely unique on the highway. The color has been in use since 1954.
The Michigan State Police is also distinctive for its long reliance on a single, red rotating beacon on the roof – the RV-25 or RV-26 “Spitfire” from Unity Manufacturing. In recent years, the rotating, sealed beam light has been replaced with and LED unit, but MSP has eschewed the gigantic light bar in favor of a single, round unit.
The MSP is also requires that its cruisers feature a clear plastic sign mounted to the hood. Referred to as a “hood light,” or “hailer,” or “shark fin,” the clear plastic sign features the words “STATE POLICE” and “STOP” in a large font. The sign is illuminated at night.
Lots of State Police departments want their cruisers to be seen. That doesn’t seem to be the mission with New Hampshire, which paints its State Police cruisers in a unique forest green, with a copper color above the beltline.
Like Massachusetts, the distinctive colors on the New Hampshire State Police cars are present to reflect the uniform that State Troopers wear. The deep green represents the forests for which New Hampshire is so recognized. Uniform pants and the cruisers above the beltline are officially colored “Uniform Pink,” according to the NHTroopers.org.
The New Hampshire State Trooper uniform features a badge with a depiction of the Frigate USS Raleigh, one of the 13 ships originally commissioned by the Continental Congress for the by the US Navy in 1775. The cruisers instead have a bold door badge featuring a yellow reflective arrow, and a depiction of the Old Man of the Mountain, a natural rock formation on Cannon Mountain, which collapsed in 2003.
Images Courtesy: Wikipedia, CopCar Dot Com, Government-Fleet.com, coolsigns.blogspot.com, Burlington Free Press, USA Today, NHTroopers.org