How Bullet-Proof Are Police Cars? (Windows, Doors, Tires, Etc.)

Have you been wondering if the safety of police cars includes bulletproof windows, tires, doors, etc?
Do you have questions about the toughness of the new bulletproof vehicles and how they compare to the old cop cars? If yes, then this article is a must-read for you.

Are Police Cars Bullet-Proof?

Police cars in the U.S are generally bullet-proof. Models newer than 2015 are bullet-proof while there are still many older police cars that are not bullet-proof.

We’ve researched this topic thoroughly, and consequently, we’ve written this detailed post to explain this question as well as other related inquiries.

Are Police Cars Generally Bullet-Proof?

A police car, also known as a patrol car, squad car, police cruiser or radio car is a ground vehicle utilized by the police force for transportation while patrolling, and to help them respond to chases and incidents.

In March 2016, it was announced that for the first time in history police cars would have doors and windows that can adequately protect against armor-piercing bullets.

Many of the largest police depts have adopted these bulletproof materials into their vehicles to ensure maximum safety and protection for officers.

Bulletproof Doors

Ford, the leading manufacturer of police cars, designed Police Interceptor SUVs and sedans in the U.S. to reach the Justice Department’s high standards as regards body armor which is the equal of a massive SWAT team vest.

The design of the police doors can withstand even more powerful ammunition than what many U.S. Soldiers carry. It is designed to prevent the penetration of a powerful 30-caliber bullet that is shot from an AK-47 or other high-powered rifles.

The ballistic panels include two layers and cover almost the entirety of the door.

The inside layer consists of aramid fiber, a similar material to that which is utilized for Kevlar, and the outside layer is constructed with ballistic-grade ceramic tile. The strength of these layers ensures that they hold out even when a bullet bangs the same area twice.

Bulletproof Windows

In 2017, in the de Blasio administration, all NYPD patrol cars were outfitted with bullet-resistant window inserts. These inserts protect the back portion of the passenger and driver side windows; however, with these inserts, the windows cannot be rolled down.

Also, in Philadelphia, police vehicles are designed with bulletproof windows.

These vehicles are designed with front door panels that have ballistic shields. These shields are tagged as “transparent armor,” and they protect a large proportion of the front glass windows.

These modified police cars are resistant to most ammunition. Though the protection does not get to the windshield, it covers all the front sides of the vehicle.

Police officers in the front seats of a car are protected from the most-times dangerous criminals in the back seat by bulletproof glass and a steel mesh cage designed to guarantee safety.

Bulletproof Tires

Police cars are generally not designed with bulletproof tires.

Though few SUV police cars are said to have bulletproof tires, this is not true about the others.

Why Are Not All Police Cars Bullet-Proof?

You might be wondering, why is police car A bulletproof, while police car B is not?

Well, here are the reasons for this.

  • Cost to Benefit:
    Police budgets aren’t usually very high, and it’s often a struggle to purchase an adequate number of police cars, talk less of armoring all. Besides, the cost of armoring vehicles is quite expensive.

Even the lightest level of armor that has the ability to protect the police officers costs $20 – 25,000.

To cover even half-dozen cars in the police force will cost an astronomical sum.

  • Weight:
    Bulletproof glass is weighty and thick. Bulletproof armor on a police car adds about 400-1200 pounds extra weight to the vehicle. Besides sucking up a whole lot of fuel, this will slow down the car in hot pursuits.

What’s more, as a result of the weight, the suspension, frame, tires, and some other car components will need to be reinforced.

Also, a more powerful engine is required.

  • Danger level:
    The danger level for the average police car is low. Not all patrol cars get caught in a shooting crossfire, eliminating the need the outfit them with bulletproof materials.
  • Limited Operations:
    After installing bulletproof materials on the car windows, the police lose operations of the windows. It compromises the flexibility of the windows for essential day-to-day functions, and the windows can’t even be opened for a shootout.  
    Bulletproof window glass also makes harder to get injured individuals out of a police car.

Are Old Cop Cars Bulletproof?

Old cop cars didn’t include bulletproof glass. What obtained was thick steel or ceramic/plastic/Kevlar blends.

The best protective material for old cop cars is Kevlar, and bullets from heavy-duty arms could easily penetrate. Bulletproof Kevlar lining has been designed on every Crown Victoria sedan police car after 2006.

Though, since 2008, Ford has designed police car doors with ballistic panels that are factory-installed.

The move for complete bulletproof police cars began in the NYPD as a result of the killing of two offers while in their patrol car in late 2014 in Brooklyn.

Ford started working on completely bulletproof police cars when they began to receive constant calls for better protection, especially from Eastern Europe and the Middle East where bullets that pierce through armor are a daily threat.

You should also be reading our article which talks about Are Police Cars Typically Tuned?

In 2012, the manufacturer, Dodge, started providing non-armor piercing protection on police Charger cars.

How Tough Are The Bullet-Proof Police Cars?

Bulletproof cars which are often regarded as “movie cars” are very tough.

When such a police car is shot at the bullet does not penetrate.

As said earlier, the bulletproof vehicles are designed to meet the highest standards in the Justice Department for body armor.

The bulletproof material comprises high-tech, it absorbs bullets, literally taking the trajectory of the bullet and stopping it in its tracks.

The ball hits the ceramic layer of the bulletproof material first. It would then disperse energy and break the shell into little pieces. Amazingly, these bulletproof police cars are designed to withstand against penetration even when a bullet is shot at the same spot twice.

Are American Police Cars More Bullet-Proof than Europe?

The laws in the EU are far stricter than what obtains in the U.S.A based on the survey carried out by the European Commission which thus revealed that nine out of ten European Union citizens have never been the owner of a weapon.

Meanwhile, according to a SAS survey, the most prominent force in the push for civilian ownership is the U.S.

The United States is one of the few countries in the world where the state constitution protects the civilian right to bear arms.

As a result, the occurrence of civilian vs. police shootouts in the UK is low compared to the U.S. Hence; there is no mention of European police cars being bulletproof.

Meanwhile, shootings, which resulted in the loss of police officers, led to the development of bulletproof police cars in the U.S.

How Else Are Police Cars Modified?

A police car undergoes modifications for speed, higher durability, long periods of no use, and high-mileage driving.

Its brakes, suspension, transmission, alternator, cooling systems, and calibrated speedometer are designed as heavy-duty. In most police cars,

  • The stock engine features slight modifications, or a more powerful engine is installed.
  • As the demands and uses of a police car often cause overheating of the engine, the cars feature upgraded coolers that have more massive fans and radiators to overpower the heating.
  • The seats of police cars are usually heavy-duty, and they have an opening to take on firearms and belts.
  • Police cars have strong alternators to keep up with the radio, lights and other equipment which consume much power. While the alternator on a civilian car will typically produce 100 amps of power, the alternators of police cars crank up to 225 amps, and even more
  • You can’t just jump on and steal a cop car. This is because they feature a run lock ignition that allows an officer to remove the car keys but still keep it running so the lights, siren, etc. can continue functioning.

However, if someone touches the parking brake or brake pedal, the car automatically shuts off.

Final Words

Bulletproof vehicles have gained a measure of popularity in the police force in the U.S.

Yes, to answer the question raised initially, police cars have bulletproof windows and doors, with bulletproof tires being quite uncommon.

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