There Is a Reason Why Police Cars Are Black and White

When you hear a police siren blaring around the corner, you’re already expecting to see a sedan painted in certain colors rushing past you. But have you ever wondered why exactly police cars are painted in colors they use? In fact, there are plenty of reasons for that in any given country.

Let’s take the USA and Canada for example. When first North American police cars appeared in the early 1900s, pretty much all automobiles were painted black, and law enforcers weren’t any exception. Later, most authorities across the US thought it prudent to make police cars easily recognizable to the public. And so they worked out a color palette that would be both symbolic and affordable for the budget.

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Police of the USA and Canada ???? 0:21
The British traffic police car (aka “jam sandwich”) 2:09
What the Battenburg markings are 2:37
The Czech Republic 4:14
Dubai (the most visible police cars!) 5:07
More subtle differences in police cars from regular ones 5:46
Vehicles designed for pursuit 6:24
???? The only real advantage of the police cars ???? 7:28

#police #cars #brightside

Preview photo credit:
Animation is created by Bright Side.

– A monochrome design proved to be very efficient: people would instantly recognize a police car as such, and it was also not hard to give it another paint job in case it was given to a detective or an undercover officer.
– With the appearance of vinyl decals, however, it became increasingly easy to paint a car in whatever colors you wanted.
– Originally, most police cars in Europe and the UK were white with distinct markings on them in either black, blue, or red.
– But then, in the 1990s, the revolution came: the Battenburg markings. Developed in the UK, this distinct pattern became a standard for the British, Australian, and many of the European police cars.
– The markings look like alternating squares of two different colors — kinda like a chess board.
– The reason for such a radical redesign is simple enough: making the emergency services highly visible.
– Only the emergency services are allowed to bear them, which makes these vehicles immediately recognizable even in the heavy traffic.
– In the Czech Republic, for example, most police vehicles have striped decals running along the bottom of the side of the car.
– When light-reflecting stripes are put lower on the body of a car, they always get enough light to be seen for what they are.
– But probably the most visible police cars ever reside in Dubai. The police force in that wealthy city has perhaps the most expensive set of vehicles in the world.
– Dubai creates a picture of the richest and most luxurious city in the world, and having their police officers drive around in Lamborghinis and Ferraris does a lot to add to this image.
– Police vehicles are generally more powerful than those available to the public. All around the world, governments place special orders for their police cars.
– There’s one thing the police have that makes almost every car chase a success: communication. And that’s the only real advantage of the police cars.

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16 Replies to “There Is a Reason Why Police Cars Are Black and White”

  1. i dont know why american police forces arent adapting reflective markings. they have loads of lights, i get it, so do europeans, but reflective markings are PASSIVE, they can be seen even when the officer is not near the vehicle, the vehicle is parked or something, traffic wont hit the police car. you cant run the lights allll the time.

  2. I was a medic for 25 years and this bouncing sound you talk about is why alot of counties and even some states banned the use of Hi-lo siren tones.

  3. There used to be a saying back in the day here in the US. You can outrun the police but you can't outrun Motorola

  4. Crown Vics in USA ???????? are the boss of all police cars ever! Period. Greetings from Los Angeles California.

  5. Highly visible police cars most definitely have their places when emergencies come up such as a police chase or a fire. But I do see a downside too, in our case, for the Black & Whites. I was really happy that these were brought back into services in my city. But my problem with these cars is people who play loud music and have barking dogs can quickly turn the volume down or get their dogs inside, denying everything and the police not believing those who are being disturb by these noisy neighbors. The police need to plan their routes by taking side streets where they can't be seen instead of driving in front of the houses.

    In the case of the dog barking all day the police was never able to catch the noisy neighbor until I called again and suggest that they drive down my street where the noisy neighbor would not be the wiser. The police can see the dog in the front yard on a long lease barking it's head off and the dog being allowed to walk across the sidewalk and into the street, both against city ordinance. This noisy neighbor got caught and was given a warning. No one should have to put up with noisy neighbors and the police needs to be smart about catching these noisy neighbors by NOT driving in front of the houses where their cars stick out like sore thumbs.

  6. My city uses black and white however the county sheriffs department uses white and no, They use suvs mostly like explorers and tahoes now.

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