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    Policy of Police Lights and Sirens on Off-Duty Personal Vehicles

    Anyone know the policy of Off-Duty Federal/State/City Officers being able to have any police lights installed to their personal cars? Is it legal?
    Amtrak Police: NY/NJ

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    I love PowerRings

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    its not in bama

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    My state it is legal for full time LEO's to have them. 55-9-414
    Where'd you learn that, Cheech? Drug school?

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    Some, if not most, states allow full time LEO's to have lights in their POV.

    However, unless someone is on-call, without a take home, and might have to respond while off-duty.. there is absolutely no need.

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    Molon Labe
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    Its not in CA.....and its pretty dumb as well......

    Most LEOs (at least in LA) would shudder to even think of having a marked take home in their driveway....you think we want something that is going to ID us the po-po on our PERSONAL CARS?!!!
    The posts on this forum by this poster are of his personal opinion, and his personal opinion alone

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    In Iowa it is legal, and possible, but largely un-heard of. I only have ever seen 2 police POV's with lights. One is the Chief in a small town where he's the only cop, and he basically contracts himself and his services out to this town. The other is a chief for a nieghboring department of about 7 officers, the POV was given to him outfitted by the community.

    If I was the chief of a small department and lived outside my town, I'd probably have some sort of light available to me incase I needed to haul balls to the town in some sort of emergency, but I sure has hell wouldn't want a lightbar or anything. Maybe a dash light hidden at the top of the windshield behind the tint strip or something. Something inconspicuous.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Agent A-Hop View Post
    Anyone know the policy of Off-Duty Federal/State/City Officers being able to have any police lights installed to their personal cars? Is it legal?
    Not in California! Emergency lights and siren are for "Authorized Emergency Vehicles" only. They must be certified by the Commissioner of the Highway Patrol and POVs would not be certified or licensed.

    Authorized Emergency Vehicle
    165. An authorized emergency vehicle is:

    (a) Any publicly owned and operated ambulance, lifeguard, or lifesaving equipment or any privately owned or operated ambulance licensed by the Commissioner of the California Highway Patrol to operate in response to emergency calls.

    (b) Any publicly owned vehicle operated by the following persons, agencies, or organizations:

    (1) Any federal, state, or local agency, department, or district employing peace officers as that term is defined in Chapter 4.5 (commencing with Section 830) of Part 2 of Title 3 of the Penal Code, for use by those officers in the performance of their duties.

    (2) Any forestry or fire department of any public agency or fire department organized as provided in the Health and Safety Code.

    (c) Any vehicle owned by the state, or any bridge and highway district, and equipped and used either for fighting fires, or towing or servicing other vehicles, caring for injured persons, or repairing damaged lighting or electrical equipment.

    (d) Any state-owned vehicle used in responding to emergency fire, rescue or communications calls and operated either by the Office of Emergency Services or by any public agency or industrial fire department to which the Office of Emergency Services has assigned the vehicle.

    (e) Any vehicle owned or operated by any department or agency of the United States government when the vehicle is used in responding to emergency fire, ambulance, or lifesaving calls or is actively engaged in law enforcement work.

    (f) Any vehicle for which an authorized emergency vehicle permit has been issued by the Commissioner of the California Highway Patrol.

    Amended Ch. 1292, Stats. 1983. Effective January 1, 1984.
    Last edited by SgtCHP; 12-07-2008 at 08:20 AM.
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    You could get a special permit for a light in NJ, but I wouldn't want it. You know the liability would be sky high and your insurance company would drop you like a hot rock if something happened. If your department wants you there that quick, they'll give you a take home.

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    This question comes up from time to time. Even if equipping an Officer's POV was legal in every state, it still isn't a good idea. There is also the important consideration of liability. Most insurance carriers are not going to insure a POV equipped as you describe. They will probably also refuse to pay damages should that vehicle become involved in a collision, even if it was insured. Equipping a POV after the fact, would more than likely be grounds for the carrier not not covering you in an accident. Additionally, it would be likely grounds for cancellation of your policy. There is though, an exception to almost every rule. At one time, I believe Constable's Offices in Texas would lease an Deputy Constable's vehicle from him. The vehicle would be equipped as an LE vehicle, and insurance provided by the employing entity. Hopefully some of our Texas colleagues could provide some more info. In general, equipping a POV as an emergency vehicle is simply very bad policy. Far more trouble than it's worth.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Agent A-Hop View Post
    Anyone know the policy of Off-Duty Federal/State/City Officers being able to have any police lights installed to their personal cars? Is it legal?
    Only on Starsky and Hutch, Walker Texas Ranger, Jack Cates in 48 HRS.....

    Years ago in Hawaii the HASP could buy and outfit their own vehicle, from a list of approved vehicles, and were reimbursed by the county

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    You can in Oklahoma, if the vehicle is designated an authorized emergency vehicle by the sheriff of the county in which you live.
    "The unforgivable crime is soft hitting. Do not hit at all if it can be avoided; but never hit softly. -Teddy Roosevelt"

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    Quote Originally Posted by JDCOP View Post
    My state it is legal for full time LEO's to have them. 55-9-414
    Normally it has to be authorized by the Chief of the department though.
    I'm 10-8 like a shark in a sea of crime..

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    Well, in Arkansas code (paraphrasing here) it states that certified EMTs, firefighters, and those in an SAR team may operate a red light upon their dash when responding to emergencies. Further it states that law enforcement officers may operate blue emergency lights and that possession of those by non-LEOs (or coroners or emergency managers) is unlawful.

    Now, there's no law that says an officer can or can't operate blue lights and sirens responding to an emergency while off-duty. However, we have a policy, as did my former agency, that employees can't utilize personal vehicles to make traffic stops or pursuits. Why you'd want to I don't know, but it takes all types. I've actually seen several reserve officers keep that stuff in their personal vehicles, but I don't know why exactly. (Well, I do, but...)

    Also, if your insurance carrier discovered you were maintaining a vehicle for or operating in emergency situations they they may drop your policy.

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    It's legal in NH. I had lights in my truck when I worked for a part-time one-cruiser department.

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    It's legal in VT and many officers do have at least a dash light to use if needed...
    "My give a damn's busted"

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    As you can see, laws vary state to state.

    Why would you want to equip a personal vehicle thusly?
    Last edited by t150vsuptpr; 12-07-2008 at 10:59 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by t150vsuptpr View Post
    As you can see, laws vary state to state.

    Why would you want to equip a personal vehicle thusly?
    I used mine once to back up another officer- the nearest trooper was about 15 miles out and I lived only a few minutes away. It turned out to be nothing, but we didn't know that at the time.

    I've since bought a different truck and moved to a different area- I don't intend on reinstalling the lights, as there's actually backup around here.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Agent A-Hop View Post
    Anyone know the policy of Off-Duty Federal/State/City Officers being able to have any police lights installed to their personal cars? Is it legal?
    Do this job a few years, then ask yourself if you want that ***** on your personal car.
    Invisible cows control my mind.

  19. #19
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    Well in Maryland the laws that prohibit people from having blue/red lights in their car do not apply to LEO. I would think that in the absense of specific prohibition that it is technically legal......however.....honestly.....when your off duty.......be off duty.......if they needed you back at work priority then they should have given you a take home crusier......if not.....get to work when you get to work.

    "But what if something happens when I am off duty around me?" What? A traffic violation? Call and on duty unit.....violent felony? You really want to get into a high speed chase in your POV with your dash light as the only warning? Not worth it
    The greatest misconception in police work that gets more officers killed is alot of cops are still taught to use the "minimum force necessary". In reality a true professional will always resort to the "Maximum Allowable Force" to resolve a situation. They mean the same thing, however one is a restriction and the other is an empowerment.

  20. #20
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    Nothing in AZ gives permission for it and as a fact I believe all emergency vehicles have to be approved by the stated DOT. However you need lights and siren for an authorized emergency vehicle. Now I have seen some guys who work ALOT of off duty assignments at roadway construction sites and have purchased some LED lights for inside their vehicles as attention getters for drivers. Red and blue is the only thing that gets the attention of some of these idiots on the road so I have never seen an issue for them to be used in this manner. However other then that, why would anyone want or need them in their POV?

  21. #21
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    It's legal in NY for deputy sheriffs, but not police. Go figure.

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    No Fed I ever met had lights in his/her POV. In my Federal Agency, we had unmarked take home cars, fully equipped. I responded a lot from home, but very rarely C3.
    "A man who has nothing which he cares about more than he does about his personal safety is a miserable creature who has no chance of being free, unless made and kept so by the existing of better men than himself."
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sleuth View Post
    No Fed I ever met had lights in his/her POV. In my Federal Agency, we had unmarked take home cars, fully equipped. I responded a lot from home, but very rarely C3.
    No Fed I have ever stopped running balls to the wall had any lights / siren in their government vehicles- period. Apparently, you just honk your horn and hold your FIBBIE badge out the window!
    ---Cut the red wire---

  24. #24
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    In Washington State "any person, firm, corporation or municipal corporation" may apply to the State Patrol for an emergency vehicle permit. The application shall include "An explanation of the nature and scope of the duties, responsibilities and authority of the vehicle operator which necessitate the need for vehicle to have an authorized emergency vehicle permit."

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    I know some agents on the East Coast used to do that. It also depends on the agency. I was with a IRS agent, and needed to get someplace fast. I asked him to turn on his C3 gear - he looked at me as if I had two heads (I don't).
    Of course in those days, IRS needed supervisor permission to wear a gun, on a case by case basis.

    I sure hope things have changed.
    "A man who has nothing which he cares about more than he does about his personal safety is a miserable creature who has no chance of being free, unless made and kept so by the existing of better men than himself."
    John Stuart Mill

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