Police Service Jeep Toys have always been popular, but the real thing is is not so common. Police departments seem to be more concerned with having vehicles that are comfortable, and capable of chasing a fugitive at speed on streets and highways, than with dependability in varied weather and topographyy.
Military Police have of course often used Jeeps. This example was seen in a history of the Australian Military Police Corps, whose motto through the World Wars, Korea, Vietnam and other UN and peacekeeping operations has been, "For the Troops and With the Troops." This Willys MB was part of the the post-WW II BCOF (British Commonwealth Occupation Forces) in Japan.
As far as CJ-3B's go, I think the only one I've seen with Military Police markings is an imaginative restoration of a 1954 CJ-3B as a U.S. Army MP Jeep.
This very interesting photo from the Lincoln, Nebraska Police Department shows several Jeeps in service in 1946. Their website lists the cost to the department as $2250, and says they were "used mostly by motorcycle officers during inclement weather." But that cost seems very high for the period, and these Jeeps appear to be surplus wartime MB's, so it would be interesting to hear the whole story of these units.
There were certainly other police departments that quickly saw the utility of the Jeep for routine patrols in varied weather conditions: a 1948 newsletter called Jeepers News Review (70K JPEG) from the Willys dealer in Vancouver BC, includes a small news item headed Toronto Police in Jeep Capture Bandit (20K GIF).
The perception of the Jeep as something in between a motorcycle and a patrol car made police departments an obvious market for the inexpensive two-wheel-drive DJ-3A Dispatcher when it was introduced by Willys in 1955.
This Willys promotional photo is from the Images in Time collection at the Toledo Lucas County Public Library.
A photo from the Willys booklet Jeep family of 4-Wheel-Drive Vehicles in Public Service shows a parade of police officers and their vehicles, which appear to be CJ-2A's. Parts dealer La Casa Del Jeep in Puerto Rico recognizes the building in the background as the capitol building in San Juan, and guesses the photo dates from the late 1940's.
The same booklet includes a 1940's Willys panel delivery model set up for use as a paddy wagon (40K JPEG) by the police in Guam, the U.S. territory in the Pacific which had been occupied by Japan during WW II, and a CJ-5 with siren (100K JPEG) with a uniformed driver in an unidentified country.
What if you were taking the family for a spin in your CJ-3B, and you got pulled over by a cop in a... CJ-3B?!
The traffic stop in the photo apparently took place, or was staged, in the 1960's in Madagascar, off the east coast of Africa. The French Gendarmerie Nationale (National Police) were responsible for colonial law enforcement, and many of their Jeeps were built by Hotchkiss in France. But both the Jeeps here appear to be Willys CJ-3B's. The photo has appeared in various places including the website of L'Association Française des Collectionneurs de Véhicules Militaires, but so far I haven't found the real story behind the picture.
Another Gendarmerie photo shows a Hotchkiss JH102 high hood (50K JPEG) with a nice hardtop. According to the LAFCVM, several hundred of the JH102's went to the Gendarmerie.
See also L.A. Sheriff's Jeep
in Boy Scout Rescue, for a CJ-3B in 1957 Los Angeles.
Once again, routine traffic patrol was the function of this Jeepster Commando Station Wagon, seen in an uncredited photo from Arch Brown's Jeep: The Unstoppable Legend. More significant than its four-wheel-drive capability may have been the economical cost of a Jeep as a fleet vehicle. (In fact, since this one belonged to the Toledo Police, it might have been a freebie from Kaiser Jeep.)
On the other hand, 4WD has always been a necessity for police vehicles in Idaho City ID. Surrounded by the Boise Basin, where gold was discovered in 1862, Idaho City became the largest city in the Northwest United States during the gold rush of the 1860's. It's now a very small city which attracts plenty of visitors with its fascinating boomtown history and the recreational apportunities of the Boise National Forest. This CJ-7, once the wheels of the Idaho City Police, is now also part of that history.
Cost was again probably more important than offroad ability, when South Pasadena CA bought TJ Wranglers for use in Parking Enforcement. Plus the availabilty of right-hand-drive. RHD has long been an important option for the marketing of Jeeps overseas and for postal delivery; and apparently officers in Pasadena can now just reach out the driver's window to slap that ticket on a windshield.
See a closer view of the door and interior (70K JPEG) of this RHD Wrangler.
Many North American police departments are involved in the D.A.R.E. (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) program, and one of the promotional methods they use is decorating unusual vehicles as special D.A.R.E. cruisers. West Vancouver BC put the D.A.R.E. logo on this TJ.
The Los Angeles Sheriff's Malibu Search and Rescue operates a TJ as part of their search team. Photo courtesy of code2high.com.
The Los Angeles Sheriff's Department has a long history with Jeeps -- see L.A. Sheriff's Jeep
in Boy Scout Rescue on The CJ3B Page.
As of early 2011, LASD has the first JK Wrangler we've seen in police livery. It was photographed on Catalina Island by
Grand Cherokees are a bit pricey for most police budgets, but the Geneva Police in Switzerland have a nice-looking one. And a ZJ was spotted playing a patrol vehicle in the TV series Caitlin's Way (70K JPEG).
Due to value for money, the XJ Cherokees are probably the most popular Jeeps with police departments: see Police Service Cherokees for some examples.
By 2007 the Liberty had become very popular in police and security applications requiring all-season on-road dependability. This KJ is an emergency response unit for the Old Port of Montreal.
Thanks to Mike Albright for the Montreal and Pasadena photos, and Roberto Flores for spotting the Gendarmerie photos. -- Derek Redmond
See also some CJ-3B Police Jeeps of The Hague, Netherlands.
Other police high hoods around the world include an Ebro Bravo in service with the Guardia Urbana in Spain, and a Mahindra with the West Bengal Highway Patrol in India.
The Gendarmerie Crash Jeep in France is a Willys MB which is the prototype for a detailed 1/43-scale model.
See Cops in CJ-3B's in the Movies.
Also on The CJ3B Page, see Police Service Jeep Toys.
Return to the Toy Jeeps Pages.
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