OLR Research Report

September 29, 2000




By: Veronica Rose, Principal Analyst

You asked if any of the states that border Connecticut use only unmarked state police cars. You also want to know why the Connecticut State Police uses only unmarked cars.

According to the Connecticut State Police, Massachusetts, New York, and Rhode Island use both marked and unmarked state police cars. Connecticut does the same.

All Connecticut state police cars are equipped with permanently installed standard rear deck red and blue emergency lights and siren. Patrol cars have a detachable roof bar with the words State Police, but in certain patrol operations that call for low visibility, a supervisor may direct an officer not to attach the bar. The division has 12 cars with the “STATE POLICE” decal extending on both sides from the front to the rear bumper (one for each troop) and six more being outfitted. It gave the

following rationale for using unmarked vehicles:

“Patrol vehicles utilized by the Connecticut State Police are designed for multiple capabilities….Unmarked capabilities allow for tactical operations to detect hazardous moving violations such as detecting aggressive drivers and commercial motor vehicle enforcement.”

Under the current State Police union contract, officers keep their assigned cars for off-duty use. (Part of the reason for this is that police officers perform law enforcement activities while off-duty.) While the car is being used in an off-duty capacity, markings are not desirable. The trooper can attach the State Police light bar if he is required to perform a law enforcement function involving the car.

It costs approximately $200 to $500 to apply the state police decal on the side of new vehicles. And the decal must often be reapplied to vehicles involved in accidents. In 1999, the division had 413 accidents. If half of the decals were replaced, it would have cost between $42,000 to $103,000, depending on the application process and extent of the damage.