I am not a sheriff, but I did hear of one seeking a permit and I believe he wanted it for road details. My personal opinion is that if the town does not provide you with a car the lights probably are not needed for that particular detail. But should the sheriff and or officer feel a need more visibility than a reflective vest and a good flashlight cone can offer than be all means activate a few amber or white strobes lights I can't see a big problem getting a permit for those.
I can't imagine why one would want to put lights of any color on their personal car. If your activating lights of any type on your vehicle, it would infer that you are doing so because of danger of oncoming traffic. Do you want to put your vehicle in danger of oncoming traffic? I don't! I know my insurance asks me if I will use my vehicle as a "Police Vehicle" every year when I fill out my paper work. Using your vehicle on a detail with lights, unless you tell your insurance about this "police vehicle" use, would probably null and void your insurance if you were to get hit.
There used to be a guy on our department who had front and rear white strobes, but he's since left. He said they were because it was a show car, but I'd always see the guy using them here and there on details and occasionaly during Honor Guard stuff. He got busted on non-stop and was pretty much labeled a sparky.
Personally, I wouldn't want to use lights on my POV just for the liability reasons. Other than that one guy at my department, and a guy I see in Middleton all the time, I can't say I've seen this at all. Is this a common practice?
I believe that in order to obtain a "blue light" permit...It has to be approved by a police Chief and then to the RMV. I recently met a high ranking Sheriff's Dept. Deputy with all the bells and wistles in his personal CROWN VIC ( lol ). When asked about the lights, he displayed a permit ( like your registration ) from the RMV. He also went on to tell me that the permit was granted to him due to a written letter from the Chief in his prospective town. I agree with what was written before...why would you want to place blue lights in your vehicle...We don't get payed enough as it is....That stuff is expensive... and you do the job 40+ hours a week...Leave it at work! ( just my opinion )
Posted Fri Dec 03, 17:10:
I like the quote...Good movie, Office Space
Just an FYI tip for any police officer coming across someone who has a decked out crown vic or caprice or police type model vehicle. If the bottom section of the Massachusetts registration isn't marked with words indicating Red or Blue light permit, be very suspicious! The type should be of the same font as the rest of the RMV print. LOOK CAREFULLY. I have personally come across people who have added in their own wording from a dotmatrix homeprinter. I have also come across someone who took the permit application, copied and super-sized it, attached it to their registration then laminated it. Then they stuck it on the dashboard. To the untrained eye (public) it looked official and legit. It wasn't. That incident was the result of a call from a local PD for assistance in helping determine its validity. They themselves weren't sure-and they are full time experienced cops. The people who go to such lengths are dangerous and we as established, organized, trained Police should be highly suspect of their motives.
Posted Sat 04 Dec, 2004:
I just thought people here would like to know we aren't the only group that goes back and forth on who should have what authority, lights, etc. :lol: Just check out this site here in Mass. The lawyer's response is very good and should be taken to heart by any cop thinking of using their own personal vehicle with blue lights for a call (ie regional call out response)
I know this post will be popular . . . NOT! :twisted:
Back in the late '70s-early '80s my Chief "ordered me" (he was a Marine, he never "asked" anyone, he "ordered" ) to get a blue light (mag mount teardrop) and fill out an RMV application for a blue light permit. He did the same for a few of us who were Special POs (probably less than 6 of us).
Back in those days we had to use our POVs to block roads/traffic for parades, road races, Halloween, 4th of July Fireworks/block party, etc. on a regular basis. There were 35 Special POs and only a total of 5 cruisers for the town!
Technically, the blue light permit regs (for POVs) limits the use of a blue light (with the RMV permit) to the transport of prisoners ONLY. The law is as antiquated as our old "blue laws". The use by town/state PD vehicles for blue lights is much more frequently for tasks like: road hazard/accident, responding to a call, etc. Once you have the prisoner cuffed and stuffed, you usually (but not always) no longer have an "emergency". But the law is as the law is written.
I recall two "out of town" incidents with the blue lights. Worth noting: At a certain point the Chief no longer renewed our blue light permits for political reasons (one Selectman was out to get him and he was walking a fine line at that time) but he still wanted us to use them when needed for police work.
1st instance: One of our Special PO Sgts spotted a car that had spun out, hit the guardrail and was down in the ditch of Rte. 128 median (in the Needham/Newton area). He came up on the scene and turned on his blue bubblegum light and used his CB radio to call for the State Police. He went over and calmed the woman down (she was having a panic attack after the accident). Trooper arrives and starts giving our guy a ration of crap about the blue light. He allegedly asked the Trooper to take care of the lady first and then if he had an issue about the blue light, the Special Sgt would stick around to deal with it. [When this happened I don't know if we still had valid blue light permits or not, but it certainly was beyond the scope of legal use. However, I would personally have no problem defending myself in court for such usage and I'd expect to win.]
2nd instance: I was on my way home from my regular job on Friday night in rush hour traffic. In the left lane of Rte. 128 in Newton (just opposite the Pillar House location) and my CV joint let go (no steering and "no go")! I put the blue light up on the roof to hopefully avoid someone rear-ending me as a "dead vehicle" blocking the road. An off-duty Wayland PO stopped his pickup truck in front of me, asks if I'm a cop and offers to tow me off of Rte. 128 into the Pillar House lot and drive me home. Real nice gesture and a much-needed rescue from something that was life-threatening (getting out of the car and walking across 3 lanes would have been suicidal). Legal, no but sensible given the circumstances.
In recent years the RMV has taken some very strict interpretations as to who gets blue light permits and for what reason (even thou the law only allows for one reason-prisoner transport).