Police Service Jeeps


Jeeps used in law enforcement are not as common as the number of Police Service Jeep Toys might suggest. Most police departments are 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 topography. But there have been some interesting examples.

Turkey Turkish police apparently used the CJ-3B, which is not surprising since it was the only domestically produced vehicle in Türkiye when Türk Willys Overland started building the Jeep there in 1955 (see Tuzla Jeeps in Türkiye.)

This photo of a Turkish cop is actually from a 1963 advertisement for Philips mobile telephones, in a police magazine in the Netherlands.

Thanks to Jan Hogendoorn for scanning the ad and providing this translation from Dutch of the text: "In addition to the language of the law, the police in Türkiye also speak Turkish. But also in Türkiye, the efficiency of people and equipment is increased by using a Phillips mobile phone for the many reports and assignments. For police forces, the Philips mobile phone is an indispensable help with telephone traffic."

AustralianMilitary 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.

Lincoln NEThis photo of several Jeeps in service in 1946 is from the Lincoln, Nebraska Police Department whose website has stated they were "used mostly by motorcycle officers during inclement weather" and listed the cost to the department as $2250, although that seems high for the 1940's. And these Jeeps appear to be surplus wartime MB's, which would have been available very cheaply to local government agencies, although this was more common in Europe than in North America. It would be interesting to hear the whole story of these units.

M38The Willys MC replaced the MB as the U.S. military Jeep in 1950. Designated M38 by the Army, it was a slightly beefier version of the civilian CJ-3A. This undated, unidentified photo shows a couple of the new Jeeps with an MP unit.

Mark Randall has identified both the bumper lettering and the insignia as indicating US Army Europe Communications Zone, as well as pointing out that the Ridgeway cap dates the photo to post-Korea.

CJ-3BMilitary Police service was one of the non-combat roles sometimes delegated to less-expensive civilian Jeep models such as the CJ-3B. See more details on this U.S. Army MP Jeep photographed in Ethiopia in 1965.

Puerto Rico

It didn't take Willys Motors long to start seeing overseas police departments as a profitable market. One of several police photos in their late-1950s booklet Jeep Family of 4-Wheel-Drive Vehicles in Public Service shows a parade of police officers and their Jeeps in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Jeep J8sAnd the same kind of advertising photo is apparently still working in 2017, for AADS (Africa Automotive Distribution Services), who sell Chrysler's Egyptian-built Jeep J8 in military, ambulance and police versions. They offer options including armor protection (130K JPEG).

GendarmerieWhat 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 1960s 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 although these two look like Willys.

Another Willys CJ-3B in Africa with a chaff screen, and this one also has some anti-riot protection for the windshield and headlights. It was photographed in Elisabethville in the Democratic Republic of Congo in 1960. Photo from Jeeps in the Congo on CJ3B.info, © MAES/ www.cegesoma.be.

India Jeeps were used widely in police work in India, and that long service was recognized in December 2017 when a restored patrol Jeep was lifted onto the roof of the Odisha Reserve Police Force building in Jagatsinghpur, India.

"We have stopped using typical Indian police Jeeps suited for rough roads and steep inclines. SUVs have taken their place. But we grew up watching this vehicle. We are perhaps the last generation to have used the Jeep. So we decided to keep one old Jeep as a mark of respect atop the building," said Superintendent of Police Jai Narayan Pankaj, to The Hindu newspaper.

India The long-wheelbase Mahindra Jeep on the roof also lights up at night (60K JPEG). Thanks to Jim Gregor for spotting this news item. See also an article in the Times of India about the disappearance of police Jeeps in the state of Uttar Pradesh.

Not only were Jeeps used by police forces across India, but they were also very popular in Bollywood films. See some Mahindra Police Jeeps in the Movies on CJ3B.info.

BrazilThis Brazilian CJ-5 with its distinctive rear wheel openings (see Jeeps in Brasil) served with the Policia Rodoviária (Highway Patrol) operated by the roads department in the state of Rio Grande do Sul in the 1950s and 60s. In 1967 the role of policing highways was transferred to the military.

Huntington NY Huntington, New York is on the north shore of Long Island, and in 1957 the town selected a Willys Station Wagon to cover beach patrol and snow duty. Patrolmen in this photo are Paul Arato and Edward Donahue. Photo by Walter del Toro courtesy of vintagenewsday.

Galveston Galveston, Texas Police had apparently already had a Station Wagon for their Beach Patrol for a few years. This photo is circa 1950, source unknown.

1964The story of the Police Jeeps of The Hague in the Netherlands is a long one, starting with surplus MB's in 1946 and continuing until 2016. Their Jeeps were typically modified with unique vertical sliding doors, and came with factory black paint and red wheels (460K JPEG).

This CJ-5 is one of several painted white for beach duty in 1957. The 1964 photo (260K JPEG) is by Fred Verdelman.

CJ-5 Beach patrolAnother beach patrol Jeep, probably in North America. I'm looking for help in identifying the likely date and location of this photo of the CJ-5 with the missing taillight (220K JPEG). The folding vinyl top replaced the earlier canvas top as a standard accessory at Jeep dealers in 1962.

Philippines, 1968These CJ-5s with canvas tops are outside Pulisya headquarters in Olangapo City, Philippines in 1968. Like the Dutch CJ-5 above, they have the two-pane export windshield. Photo courtesy m20wc51 on Flickr.

See also the Filipino Pulisya in action in the movies: Jeeps and Chains on CJ3B.info.

New York City Even large American cities were finding uses for Jeeps. Willys News reported in 1957 that the New York PD's 22nd Precinct was testing radio-dispatched four-wheel-drive Jeeps, painted in green and white, to patrol Central Park.

A couple of small photos of the CJ-5 on patrol (40K JPEG) are courtesy of PoliceNY.com.

Los Angeles In 1956, Los Angeles Police bought some of the new two-wheel-drive DJ-3A Dispatchers to replace 3-wheel motorcycles on traffic duty. Sgt. J.M. Thompson is seen here chalking the tire of a car parked in a time-limited parking spot. See also a front view (90K JPEG).

Philadelphia, 1962The Philadelphia Police purchased a variety of Jeep vehicles over the years, notably a number of Dispatchers. The DJ's appeal was not its offroad capability, but its low cost as a fleet vehicle with easy access, and room in the back for equipment (or canines.) Here the K9 unit and their DJ's are being inspected by the Mayor and Police Commissioner on 2 October 1962.

Photo by Joseph Wasko for the Philadelphia Evening Bulletin, courtesy Temple Univ. Libraries, George D. McDowell Collection.

Phildelphia, 1965Some of the Philadelphia Dispatchers were outfitted with steel half cabs, so their primary purpose may have been as service vehicles, but in this photo taken on 7 May 1965 they are being used by officers patrolling a desegregation march at Girard College.

Photo by Fox for the Philadelphia Evening Bulletin, courtesy Temple Univ. Libraries, George D. McDowell Collection.

Philadelphia, 197120 October 1971, a water main break at 33rd and Chestnut Streets. A Philly police Jeepster Commando blocks traffic while pedestrians navigate carefully. Judging from the pusher bumper, this Commando was regularly assigned to traffic duty.

It's unfortunate these photos are black & white, because Philadelphia Police vehicles were painted red and white at this time. They switched to a light blue and white in 1972.

Photo by Richard Rosenberg for the Philadelphia Evening Bulletin, courtesy Temple Univ. Libraries, George D. McDowell Collection.

ToledoOnce again, traffic control was the function of this Jeepster Commando Station Wagon, seen in what is probably a Kaiser Jeep promotional photo, from Arch Brown's book Jeep: The Unstoppable Legend. This one belonged to the Toledo Police, so it may have been a freebie from Kaiser Jeep.

Calgary, 1991There are also places where effective policing requires vehicles that can deal with extreme geography and weather. This Jeep CJ-7 was used by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police in Fort McMurray, Alberta, and later transferred to duty patrolling the perimeter fence at the Calgary airport, where it was photographed by Doug Morris in 1991.

Palm Springs CAThe Palm Springs Mounted Police provides search and rescue in the mountains surrounding Palm Springs CA, utiliizing horses, helicopters and technical rope rescue. And of course Jeeps, including this winch- and tow-equipped YJ Wrangler.

Photo courtesy MR38 on Flickr.

A great configuration for police use is this steel hardtoop YJ with swinging rear door, belonging to the state police in Barcelona, Venezuela, and photographed for CJ3B.info in 1997.

PasadenaThe availabilty of right-hand-drive (70K JPEG) made TJ Wranglers attractive for use in Parking Enforcement. RHD has long been an important option for the marketing of Jeeps overseas and for postal delivery; and officers iin this this RHD Wrangler in South Pasadena CA can also just reach out the driver's window to slap that ticket on a windshield.

LASDThe Los Angeles Sheriff's Department has a long history with Jeeps (see L.A. Sheriff's Jeeps in 1957 Boy Scout Rescue on CJ3B.info.) Their Malibu Search and Rescue team later operated a TJ Wrangler (100K JPEG).

In early 2011, 10-42Adam photographed this LASD JK Wrangler on Catalina Island.

AustraliaVictoria Police in Australia had acquired a Wrangler Unlimited Sport powered by the 2.8L turbodiesel in 2007. Surprisingly it had a soft top, although it was particularly tasked with winter patrol. See also a front view (230K JPEG).

GermanyAs of 2016, many more departments have adopted the current Wrangler, which offers size and comfort along with its go-anywhere capability and flexibility of configuration. This beach rescue demonstrator in Germany was photographed in use by the Lower Saxony State Police.

Photo by tragesessel4350_off_duty on Flickr.

Thanks to Mike Albright and Roberto Flores for finding photos, and to the photographers. -- Derek Redmond

See also Police Jeeps of The Hague and Police Service Cherokees.

See photos of the US Border Patrol, Patrolling the Border by Jeep.

Also on CJ3B.info, see Fire Service Jeeps.

Return to Jeep History.

FacebookVisit CJ3B.info on Facebook.

CJ3B Home | Contents | Search | Movies | 3A and 3B Community

Last updated 1 May 2023 by Derek Redmond redmond@cj3b.info
All content not credited and previously copyright, is copyright Derek Redmond