Lincoln County has somewhat of an Oakland Raiders scheme.  Blaine County has some bright patriotic colors.  Jerome County has a sharp look.  The distinct designs on Idaho highways often reflect regional tastes.  We’ve come a long way from old black and whites, although.  The old look is easy to spot!  When I was a boy growing up my local police department had just one patrol car.  It was usually a plain green or beige with a gumball light on the roof.  My dad and the Chief of Police once drove 13 hours to pick up a new car for the department.  It was a yellow Ford Galaxy.  Not very exciting.

In those days there weren’t strobe light bars or computer terminals. 

Weather often demands more than a very fast Dodge.

I remember when my State Police transitioned from black and white to a blue and gold when I was in the latter portion of grade school.  I thought it was a sharp look but when I see old pictures I’m not quite so sure.  Maybe it wasn’t the look at the time that was important.  The cars were Plymouth Furies with Hemi engines.  If you breathed near a gas pedal the whole vehicle shuddered!

Law enforcers want practical rides, which is why we see more pickup trucks and 4-wheel drives in service than 50 years ago.  Weather often demands more than a very fast Dodge.

By the 1990s, we started seeing a move away from sedans.  Many simply didn’t have room for a cage separating front and back seats.  Going back well before the ‘90s, the old Checker Motors Corporation proposed making a standardized patrol car.  The idea was presented to police chiefs and sheriffs across the country.  When they declined the idea, Checker became a historical relic.  Its cab business couldn’t alone save the company.

Ultimately, if you’re working behind the wheel for much of the day you want practical but I would also think you’d like some style.  I’d give Lincoln and Jerome Counties points for looks.  In the City of Twin Falls you could also make an argument for some of the specialty exteriors but it’s more temporary than a permanent design.

Oh, and Idaho State Police.  The black and gold is slick and demands immediate respect but, still.  Lincoln County for me!

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