08-14-2010, 04:02 AM #1
- Join Date
- Aug 2010
License Plates on Police Vehicles
The short: Unmarked Cars that have obvious city plates.
Here in the Chicago-land area most, if not all, city-owned vehicles have distinct license plates. The lettering is green and the first character is always 'M'. This applies to police vehicles as well, even the ones that are unmarked.
In my ill-informed opinion, the only advantage I can see is that people wouldn't be able to detect an unmarked vehicle from a distance. ???
I'm sure the police departments probably have cars with civilian type plates for sting operations and such but I assume they wouldn't really be used to pull someone over for a minor violation.
I wanted to know the possible rationale(s) behind this (i.e. is this some sort of tactic or is this required by law?). Is this a hindrance to officers or does it help?
Also, is this the same case in other states?
(p.s., i did a search for this but didn't really find anything relevant)
Last edited by zsayed; 08-14-2010 at 04:06 AM.
08-14-2010, 04:27 AM #2
Marked polcie units bear EXEMPT tags. See example:
Note: the new exempt tags are "flat" printed plates with 7 digits. They start at 100 for cars and trucks and at 900 for trailers.
Unmarked cars generally bear standard Texas license plates:
An unmarked car with EXEMPT tags can work traffic, but if the suspect fails to stop, it is not considered evading until a marked unit joins the pursuit.
Unmarked units occassionally bear EXEMPT tags, but they are not used as undercover cars. For instance, our code enforcement officer drives a City car that has no markings but bears exempt tags on it.
Additionally, exempt tags are used by all state and local government agenices in Texas to include school districts and I've even seen some churches have them since they are tax-exempt.Let your watchword be duty, and know no other talisman of success than labor. Let honor be your guiding star in your dealing with your superiors, with your fellows, with all. Be as true to a trust reposed as the needle to the pole. Stand by the right even to the sacrifice of life itself, and learn that death is preferable to dishonor. ~ Gov. Richard Coke, October 4, 1876
08-14-2010, 05:02 AM #3
You will see both here in VA. Marked units have an L on the plate for city and county governments. State police have there own plate, and other state agencies will have an S. Some unmarked units used in Virginia Beach will have an L plate, some will have regular plates. It all depends on the use. The unmarked unit that I will pull when working traffic assignments has normal state plates, but you would know it is a unit by the extremely dark tinted windows and three antennas on the trunk.
08-14-2010, 06:52 AM #4
- Join Date
- Jun 2009
Most of our unmarks, even the obvious ones, have standard tags.
08-14-2010, 08:04 AM #5
- Join Date
- Sep 2008
- St Marys County, MD
I know I cant asnwer stuff here, but can I join in the question?
So, would this certainly be a police car, or just a municipal car of some sort?
08-14-2010, 01:11 PM #6
08-14-2010, 01:53 PM #7
- Join Date
- Jan 2004
- Montgomery Alabama
Your assumption is incorrect. Alabama has distinct tags for each level of government. State, County, Municipal. We also use standard civilian tags on some LE vehicles. You can be stopped by any LE vehicle, regardless of the type of tag displayed. Stops are often made by unmarked vehicles.
08-14-2010, 09:04 PM #8
All of ours have municipal tags.Being a good street cop is like coming to work in a wet suit and peeing in your pants. It's a nice warm feeling, but you're the only one who knows anything has happened.
08-14-2010, 09:45 PM #9
Normally all the vehicles have U.S. Government plates, however a few have state plates for that class of vehicle, they are no different than any other plate in the state.It could be that the purpose of your life is only to serve as a warning to others.
08-14-2010, 09:56 PM #10
Our undercover detectives vehicles will not be distinguishable from a regular vehicle on the road. Our Plain clothes detectives ie....burglary and theft detectives, violent crimes detectives, domestic violence detectives ect..... who wear regular professional clothing ie...polo shirt with dept logo on it, or button down shirt with tie and slacks, or even some wear suits, those guys drive an unmarked (not an undercover vehicle) unit that has "public" plates indicating local govt owned. The idea is you don't want a guy in a suit getting out of a marked unit with light bars ect...., simply because it looks ridiculous. Furthermore, it saves money, mostly they throw in windshield and rear window lights and a radio and the car is ready to roll. They don't need to be marked (costs money), they don't need light bars (cost money), they don't need computers (got them in their office) and D.L. readers and other stuff loaded in there (cost money). So not marking them out looks better for a plain clothes detective and saves alot of money.
Some traffic cops will ride in vehicles unmarked but still display public tags and has light bars in the windows, the reasoning is simply to give a lower profile enabling them to catch more speeders, because generally you have to be right near the vehicle to see it's a cop car.Ignored: Towncop, Pulicords, TacoMac, Ten08
08-14-2010, 10:45 PM #11
08-14-2010, 11:07 PM #12Let your watchword be duty, and know no other talisman of success than labor. Let honor be your guiding star in your dealing with your superiors, with your fellows, with all. Be as true to a trust reposed as the needle to the pole. Stand by the right even to the sacrifice of life itself, and learn that death is preferable to dishonor. ~ Gov. Richard Coke, October 4, 1876
08-14-2010, 11:18 PM #13
Thanks - I think you mentioned this in another thread but I didn't see a reference. Now for a side question, having to do with TC 545.421 (Fleeing or attempting to elude) - that seems to contradict (a bit, notwithstanding the marked vehicle part) the offense as listed in the Penal code. Would the difference be that "knowing" the pursuing person is a peace officer be that of a marked vehicle, in uniform, etc.?
Sec. 38.04. EVADING ARREST OR DETENTION. (a) A person commits an offense if he intentionally flees from a person he knows is a peace officer attempting lawfully to arrest or detain him.
(b) An offense under this section is a Class A misdemeanor, except that the offense is:
(1) a state jail felony if:
(A) the actor has been previously convicted under this section; or
(B) the actor uses a vehicle while the actor is in flight and the actor has not been previously convicted under this section;
(2) a felony of the third degree if:
(A) the actor uses a vehicle while the actor is in flight and the actor has been previously convicted under this section; or
(B) another suffers serious bodily injury as a direct result of an attempt by the officer from whom the actor is fleeing to apprehend the actor while the actor is in flight; or
(3) a felony of the second degree if another suffers death as a direct result of an attempt by the officer from whom the actor is fleeing to apprehend the actor while the actor is in flight.
(c) In this section, "vehicle" has the meaning assigned by Section 541.201, Transportation Code.
(d) A person who is subject to prosecution under both this section and another law may be prosecuted under either or both this section and the other law.
08-15-2010, 02:56 AM #14Let your watchword be duty, and know no other talisman of success than labor. Let honor be your guiding star in your dealing with your superiors, with your fellows, with all. Be as true to a trust reposed as the needle to the pole. Stand by the right even to the sacrifice of life itself, and learn that death is preferable to dishonor. ~ Gov. Richard Coke, October 4, 1876
08-16-2010, 04:26 AM #15
08-16-2010, 09:50 AM #16
- Join Date
- Oct 2006
Unmarked does not mean undercover. No one is trying to hide the fact that it is an official vehicle.
08-16-2010, 10:13 AM #17
Marked municipal police cars have a governmental plate with 4, 5 , 6 or 7 black numbers on a white background.
Marked County Sheriff cars have a white background with S-(officer badge number)
Marked State Patrol have a 2-3 digit number indicating the Troopers badge number
DOT enforcement have a T-(badge number) plate
DNR Law Enforcement have a C-(badge number (C=Conservation)
The state has a pool of normal county issued plates for unmarked cars. These are "covered" plates and will come back as "not in computerized files" if run . The plates can be rotated on a regular or irregular basis so a car can have a Linn County plate one day and a Wapello County plate next week if the department so desires. All agencies using unmarked police vehicles have access to this poll.
Undercover cars.................................you wouldn't know it is any different from your personal car. They too will come back "not in computerized file"
And your administrator will get a call saying you ran it the next day.
Last edited by Iowa #1603; 08-16-2010 at 10:17 AM.I have discussed religion and politics over morning coffee with men who have killed people, you don't scare me.
08-16-2010, 12:04 PM #18
- Join Date
- Nov 2008
We have RED plates for Municiple vehicles, IE. Local Police, Town or City Highway Departments and School bus as well. Our Unmarked vehicles have regular green VT plates. We even have an under cover vehicle with out of State plate.
08-17-2010, 12:54 PM #19
- Join Date
- Dec 2007
In Maryland some unmarks have those municipal or state license plates. Most however look just like everyone elses and the tags either don't come back to anything, or will come back to the department who is renting the vehicle if it's rented
08-17-2010, 02:21 PM #20
Oh yeah. Our unmarked and undercovers have tags that are not taceable. When run on the computer, it comes back "not on file."Being a good street cop is like coming to work in a wet suit and peeing in your pants. It's a nice warm feeling, but you're the only one who knows anything has happened.
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