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What is the state law regarding unmarked police vehicles?


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#1 Jason

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Posted May 11 2010 3:37PM

Does anyone know what state law mandates for unmarked police vehicles? Is there a provision allowing them? Do they have to have a certain level of marking?

I'm curious because recently I've noticed a brown charger pulling over people on 35 in the Kyle/San Marcos area. There are no distinguishing marks on the car whatsoever to indicate that they are in fact police. The only thing that let's you know that it is a officer is the flashing light bars, which are placed inside the car.

Basically it looks like a civilian bought a brown charger and put a light bar inside it.I have a feeling its hay's county sheriff cause they all drive chargers.

Personally, I don't feel comfortable pulling over for an unmarked car, I have no way to verify it's not some nut job that got his hands on a light bar.

I know when the new Austin police chief took over he put the end on their "stealth cars" due to similar concerns.

So does anyone know what the state law says?
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#2 TWS

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Posted May 11 2010 3:57PM

I think a call to the PD non-emergency line could answer your question. Or, call a traffic lawyer's office. I am sure they are up to date on that.

Or... www.FindLaw.com

#3 transman

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Posted May 11 2010 4:31PM

ill have to find the story.. but in one city there is an 03/04 cobra with 650 rwhp in sonic blue that is an undercover cop car used to curb street racing and speeding.. no markings at all on it

#4 TrentG8GT

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Posted May 11 2010 4:34PM

I once got stopped in my TA on 71 coming in from Marble Falls in a gold dodge intrepid. It was a highway patrol car with one red and one blue light above the rear view mirror and some flashers in the grill. When he got out he was obviously a cop and shortly after an LT1 camaro highway patrol showed up to assist as well.

#5 Jason

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Posted May 11 2010 5:05PM

I think a call to the PD non-emergency line could answer your question. Or, call a traffic lawyer's office. I am sure they are up to date on that.

Or... www.FindLaw.com


I honestly don't have the time to dig this up and I know a few people on here keep up with these kind of things. I rarely get pulled over so I doubt I'll have to deal with it anytime soon, but I was curious about it.
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#6 Mordecai

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Posted May 11 2010 7:36PM

Jason, I know the car you're talking about. I think I first saw it about 6 months ago. The officer was decked out in swat type gear (all black, cargo pants), his shirt sheriff on the back in big white letters. :dunno:

#7 Jason

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Posted May 11 2010 7:54PM

Jason, I know the car you're talking about. I think I first saw it about 6 months ago. The officer was decked out in swat type gear (all black, cargo pants), his shirt sheriff on the back in big white letters. :dunno:


Bingo. First time I actually saw the officer was the other day and your right, it does look like he's in swat gear. Seems like over kill IMHO.
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#8 MichelleT1

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Posted May 12 2010 8:56AM

I see that dude all the time with people pulled over, and I've been wondering the same.

#9 Pat06Z51

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Posted May 12 2010 9:37AM

Yeah you need command gear to write someone a speeding ticket. Posted Image Hut Hut hut hut

#10 HellBlazer

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Posted May 12 2010 10:56AM

Its perfectly legal. Most of the unmarked vehicles belong to detectives, Narcs, Lieutenants and LW's (limits and weight). Almost all counties bar detectives and Narcs from initiating traffic stops, but LW's are run by DPS and some counties to bust over weight and oversized truckers, however if days are slow, they can do regular traffic stops.
If you dont feel comfortable stopping for an unmarked police vehicle- then dont. Pull into a gas station or where people will see you, or when you get pulled over, you can call 911 and ask them to verify the officer's badge #. Usually if you continue to drive at a normal speed and pull into some where you feel comfortable, and explain your fear to the officer, they will understand.. If not, 99% the judge will understand and throw the case out
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#11 Jason

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Posted May 12 2010 11:31AM

If you dont feel comfortable stopping for an unmarked police vehicle- then dont. Pull into a gas station or where people will see you, or when you get pulled over, you can call 911 and ask them to verify the officer's badge #. Usually if you continue to drive at a normal speed and pull into some where you feel comfortable, and explain your fear to the officer, they will understand.. If not, 99% the judge will understand and throw the case out


This is exactly what I would do. I'd remain calm, hold my speed, and dial 911 while finding a gas station.

TBH, I don't hate unmarked cars, I feel they have their place with surveillance, detectives, the LW guys; but if you're pulling people over for moving violations, that car needs to be clearly marked. :soapbox:
Roll with the punches, tomorrow is another day!

#12 Pat06Z51

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Posted May 12 2010 1:25PM

If it has flashing red and blue lights, is on your ass and has a siren it's a fairly safe bet it's a cop. Posted Image

What he has to pull along side you and point to giant "POLICE" stickers on his door so you'll pull over? Posted Image

There are plenty of cop cars that you can not read anything if it's directly behind you pulling you over anyway.

#13 Jason

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Posted May 12 2010 2:00PM

If it has flashing red and blue lights, is on your ass and has a siren it's a fairly safe bet it's a cop. Posted Image

What he has to pull along side you and point to giant "POLICE" stickers on his door so you'll pull over? Posted Image

There are plenty of cop cars that you can not read anything if it's directly behind you pulling you over anyway.


Last year there were many reports of people impersonating police in Austin. It's not that far fetched.

And yes, I would like to see big POLICE stickers on the side and front of the car. That's exactly what I want.

Even when they're behind you there is at least a spotlight and possibly the grill guard unit. This car has none of that.
Roll with the punches, tomorrow is another day!

#14 Pat06Z51

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Posted May 12 2010 3:05PM

How about if he repels down from a police helicopter and shows you his badge? Posted Image

Yes I've heard of the impersonating thing but what are the odds it will happen to you? Seems like something you don't have to worry about too much Fry. :dunno:

#15 Jason

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Posted May 12 2010 3:23PM

It's not that I'm worried about being pulled over by a nut job, I just think it's unethical to be using these unmarked cars in this way. It just screams of black helicopter / gestapo to me.

Are the police here to serve and protect or are they here to intimidate and sneak around?

Edited by Jason, May 12 2010 3:24PM.

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#16 Pat06Z51

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Posted May 12 2010 3:42PM

It's not that I'm worried about being pulled over by a nut job, I just think it's unethical to be using these unmarked cars in this way. It just screams of black helicopter / gestapo to me.

Are the police here to serve and protect or are they here to intimidate and sneak around?



Your papers. Where are Z PAPERS!!!!

#17 Jason

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Posted May 12 2010 3:50PM

ROTFL

Tequila?
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#18 TWS

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Posted May 12 2010 9:45PM

Sounds like somebody has been watching Alex Jones too much on local access cable. :lol:

#19 HellBlazer

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Posted May 12 2010 10:06PM

Yea, I also agree its not the best way to improve public relations by being sneaky about it, but from their point of view, they figure if you are always worried a cop is around that you cant see, it will get you to obey the laws more often..
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#20 crazytglo

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Posted May 18 2010 8:39PM

Ive seen texas troopers driving around in completely unmarked intrepid before with a hidden light bar that flips down like visor on the front windshield. You would have no idea its a cop unless you saw who as driving.