Police cars are some of the most distinct vehicles across the globe, and it’s not just because they are driven by officers.
They have some unique components, make-up, and colors that reveal their status as police cars at first glance.
Across different countries in the world, police cars have distinct colors that civilians in these countries can easily recognize. The only police cars you may not recognize are unmarked cars, and that’s exactly the purpose of such cop cars-stealth.
In this article, we’ll be looking at the colors of police cars in the United States and select countries across the globe and how to spot them without fail.
Table of Contents
Black and White
Black and white is the conventional paint scheme for most police cars on United States soil.
This means, if a foreigner were to walk into a random U.S. State, the likelihood that they’d find a black and white police car is very high. That’s just to show how common they are.
To add to that, “Black and White” has become a colloquial term for referring to police cars in the country. Reasons police departments continue to adopt the black and white paint scheme include:
Studies have shown that there are rarely any color combinations as distinct as the traditional “black and white,”, especially in lowlight situations.
Black and white are alternating colors which make them eye-catching by default, even during nighttime.
2. Sense of Pride
Like we mentioned before, black and white is the traditional police color amongst police departments.
The black and white color apparently evokes a sense of pride and comradeship, as many officers like the feel of using the same color scheme that those before them used.
Before the black and white scheme, police cars in the U.S. used to be all-black, the same as many civilian vehicles. When the black and white idea struck, it spread across police departments in the country because it was instantly recognized for its uniqueness.
Side Note: Unlike other countries, the police institution in the U.S. is decentralized across the various cities and states. Hence, while most police cars are black and white, they don’t have to be, and different jurisdictions can use other colors if they so choose.
Police cars in some other countries, like Thailand and Jordan, also use the “Black and White” scheme. In Tunisia, Japan and Kuwait, however, they use the “White and Black” which means the paint scheme is mostly white with touches of black.
The White/Blue paint scheme is common amongst police cars in Caribbean countries like The Bahamas, Dominican Republic, Jamaica, and Trinidad and Tobago.
They are also common in Costa Rica, Belgium, Cyprus, Finland, Greece, Slovenia, Israel, Canada, Mexico, Fiji, Argentina, Ecuador and Sri Lanka, amongst others.
Per our research, this color scheme is possibly the most common paint scheme for police cars across the globe. And for good reason, as no one can argue against its distinctness and recognizability just like the previously mentioned black and white.
The White/Blue/Red paint scheme is common with police cars in countries like The Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia, Netherlands, Romania, Norway, Austria, El Salvador, and Grenada.
White is the dominant color, and blue/red are the shades and touches.
This paint scheme is the common color for police cars in countries like Croatia, Denmark, Hungary, Australia and Ukraine.
The White/Green police paint scheme is popular in countries like Lithuania, Namibia, and The United Arab Emirates.
Silver/Blue is the common police paint scheme in Russia, Belarus, Samoa, Poland, and Germany. It is quite distinct and well-recognized by civilians in these countries.
This scheme features three colors and is common in Pakistan, India, and Lesotho, amongst other jurisdictions.
So, if you plan on going on a trip/vacation to any of these countries soon, you can familiarize yourself with the colors, especially if you plan to rent a car and drive.
It is noteworthy that these color schemes have at least two variations, which gives them much-needed uniqueness and visibility.
Also, most of the schemes also have white, which speaks to the importance of the color “White” in police department paint schemes all over the world, including the U.S.