What’s Inside a Police Car? How Much Does It Cost to Upfit Your Departments Fleet of Vehicles?

Have you ever wondered how much a police vehicle cost? Police cars are fully stocked with everything an officer might need during their day. You can think of a police car as a moving office because most are out patrol streets and responding to emergencies.

With that being said, there’s a lot that goes into outfitting a police car. From things as small as a first aid kit to the emergency lights on the top of a vehicle, police cars are equipped with a lot of things.

In this article, we’ll go over the main equipment that can be found inside and outside of a police cruiser and how much all of it costs. You’ll be surprised with all that’s inside and the price tag that’s attached.

Models of Police Cars

In the United States, the most popular company for police cars is Ford. In 1950, Ford was the first manufacture to offer a Police Package on their vehicles. The most popular model in the later years was the Ford Crown Victoria. With that model slowly phasing out, in the past years and 2021, we see models like the Ford Explorer and Ford Fusion.

Aside from Ford, police also use the Dodge Charger and Challenger which perform better in faster pursuits.

What’s Inside a police car?

Now, we’re going to list the big equipment that is inside and outside of a police patrol car, how much it costs, and who are popular brands in the industry.

It’s important to note the brands mentioned in this article are NOT sponsored and are strictly for educational purposes.

  • Safety Equipment
  • Mobile and Portable Two-way radio
  • Laptop
  • Lights
  • Cargo Storage
  • Radar Gun
  • Electronic Ticketing
  • PIT Bumpers
  • Automatic License Plate Reader
  • Antennas
  • Video Camera
  • In-Vehicle Router

Safety equipment

This type of equipment is standard and helps officers assist in any medical emergencies when arriving on a scene or before EMS arrive.

  • First Aid Kit
  • Fire Extinguisher
  • Flares
  • Traffic Cones
  • AEDs

AEDs or Automated External Defibrillators is an electronic defibrillator that is used when someone is going into Cardiac Arrest and helps control the pulses of their heart, keeping them alive until taken to the hospital.

These AEDs are manufactured by Phillips and Defibtech and can go for $1,200 USD. Other safety equipment like first aid can go for around $200. Fire extinguishers can cost between $35 to $75. Police flares can cost $90 for a large pack. Traffic cones depending on height, you can get them relatively cheap for about $20.00.

Two-Way Radio

Police are always communicating whether it’s with other officers or dispatch, they need to be connected to their team to make sure everything goes right. Officers and their vehicles are equipped with two-way radios, both Portable and Mobile that let them quickly and easily respond to and hear transmissions happening across departments through different channels.

Mobile radios are installed inside their vehicle while portable radios are used on the go and when they’re not inside their car.

Popular radio manufacturers include Motorola, Harris, and Kenwood.

How much is a two-way radio?

Two-way radios are a hefty investment to the police force. These radios are not cheap and can go for thousands of dollars. Between the radio and the radio accessories like speaker microphones, surveillance kits, and more, you can look at spending well over $2,000.

Mobile radios, the Motorola APX 1500 Mobile Radio, for instance, goes for $6,000.

Computer

Police laptops can do anything a regular laptop can. These laptops are used to access emails, files, crash/incident reports, crime management systems, and much more. The laptops allow police to have access to PNC, the Police National Computer, to show vehicle information, drivers/people, and pull up their driver’s licenses.

What Laptops does Police Use?

The most popular laptop used in police cars is the Panasonic Toughbook.

How much do Police laptops cost?

A Panasonic Toughbook cost depends on the amount of capacity and memory GB. These laptops, like the latest Toughbook 33 can go for closer to $3,700.00 on TransCor.

Lights

Police cars are known for their red and blue lights that alert drivers and civilians. These are found all around the vehicle with the light bar on top and the front headlights.

Cars also have spotlights found on the driver’s side of the vehicle that allows them to move the light and point to zero in on someone or see something better while in the dark.

Who Makes police car lightbars?

  • Police Valor Federal Signal
  • Police Allegiant
  • Police Reliant
  • Police Vision
  • Police Integrity

How much does a lightbar cost?

Depending on the size of the Lightbar, a 51” Lightbar on Police Valor Federal Signal goes for $3,109.00.

Cargo Storage

Picture from Range Mobility

Cargo storage containers can be found in the trunk and hold many items an officer might need like police tape, fingerprint scanners, blankets, hazmat equipment, and any useful item. There’s not much room in the trunk of a police car because of the cargo box and additional equipment.

WHo makes police rear cargo box? How much?

Setina is a popular cargo box storage brand that is equipped with police vehicles. Setina cargo boxes can go for around $1,000 USD as seen on Fleet Safety.

Radar Gun

Radar guns are configured to capture the speed of a moving vehicle and show the officer how fast someone was traveling.

Radar gun brands used by police

  • G3 Advanced Traffic Radar Gun
  • OnSite 300 MX Speed Trailer
  • MPH Sure Shot Lidar Gun
  • Falcon HR K-Band Radar Gun
  • Genesis Handheld Directional Radar Gun

Price of Law Enforcement Radar Gun

Radar guns go for thousands of dollars. The Genesis Handheld Directional Radar gun goes for about $900 while the MPH Sure Shot Lidar Gun goes for about $3,200.

Electronic ticketing

Also known as eCitation, electronic ticketing gives a faster way to print citations and warnings at traffic stops and prints out the information to hand to the individual. Before you had to write it all down on paper, now because of electronic ticketing, citations and warnings are written much faster and efficiently. This system is installed inside the vehicle and in easy access to the officer.

Who makes police citation systems?

  • Gtechna
  • L-Tron

Push and PIT Bumpers

Push and PIT bumpers are placed on the front of police vehicles to help stop a vehicle pursuit. PIT Bumpers got their name from the PIT maneuver move used when stopping a speeding vehicle. Bumpers help protect the front of the vehicle for less structural damage if hit.

Who makes police car front end bumpers?

  • Setina
  • Go Rhino
  • CARiD
  • Ranch Hand

How much are police bumpers?

Police bumpers can range from $354 USD to well over $700 USD.

Automatic License Plate Reader

Automatic License Plate Reader (ALPR) works by capturing an image of a vehicle’s plate then checking them against information stored in databases to help police identify vehicles that may have been involved in crimes, missing persons, or stolen. These are placed on the vehicles and lets them capture information throughout their shift.

Who makes Automatic License Plate Reader?

OpenALPR Rekor Finder mounts on your vehicle with 2 HD cameras with a wide viewing angle and capturing up to 50 ft. This company also sells mountable recognition systems and portable systems for speed detection and messages.

Utility Inc. works with Sony Imaging Products and Solutions to bring their ALPR, the Smart ALPR, with RocketIoT.

How much does ALPR cost?

The cost of these Automatic Number Plate Recognition devices are expensive pieces of equipment and can range from $15,000 to $20,000 USD and can even range further to hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Antennas

As you may have noticed law enforcement have a lot of antennas installed on their car. Police have multiple antennas to help assist in radio communication through their FM band radio, computer system, connection to a police station or another agency, GPS, and additional UHF and VHF antennas for other frequencies. Antennas help keep the vehicle connected wherever they are.

Type of In-Vehicle Antennas

Cost of Vehicle Antennas

The cost of the vehicle antennas can vary depending on the type (Yagi, Base Station, etc.), frequency band (UHF or VHF), size, and length.

Video Camera

It’s important for law enforcement to use video cameras in their vehicles to record activity happening outside and inside of their vehicle. They then can use the information recorded at traffic stops in court or training.

Police are now wearing body cams to record interactions too, but for this article, we’re mainly talking about in-vehicle video cameras.

Who makes law enforcement in-vehicle video cameras?

  • Axon AI Fleet 3 with a dash video camera and ALPR
  • Motorola Solutions WatchGuard 4RE
  • Coban EDGE HD 
  • Panasonic Arbitrator 360⁰ HD

In-Vehicle Router

In-vehicle routers help keep not only law enforcement but first responders connected to their vehicles. A lot of the technology used in vehicles needs to be connected to the internet. With the help of In-vehicle routers, law enforcement can connect to their laptops, tablets, in-vehicle cameras, and ALPR.

Types of In-Vehicle ROuters

Cost of an In-vehicle Router

In-Vehicle routers can cost over $1,000 depending on speed, plans, and manufacture. Cradlepoint IBR1700 routers cost about $1,600 on reseller websites.

Grand Total

FirstAid /AED$1,200
Laptop$3,700
Two Way Radio$2,000
Mobile Radio$6,000
Lights$3,000
Cargo Storage$1,000
Radar Gun$1,000
Bumpers$500
ALPR$15,000
Video Recorder Camera$5,000
In-Vehicle Router$1,600
TOTAL$40,000

To upfit your department’s law enforcement vehicles, the technology and equipment, amount to around $40,000 give or take. There are more things that go inside a cop car that can up the total. There is a lot that goes into fitting a patrol car that you may have not noticed was inside. All this equipment helps officers every day in assisting emergencies and traffic stops.

If you’re an officer with equipment in your patrol car that we didn’t mention, let us know in the comments below.

Leave a Reply