Monday, July 4, 2022

Do Officers Pay For Their Own Vehicle Upgrades?

If there is one tougher job today than ever, it is being a police officer. As crime has skyrocketed in cities across the nation, cops are called upon to handle situations that grow more dangerous by the day.

When responding to a call, police need the best equipment money can buy, and that includes their patrol vehicles. Police cars are typically outfitted with modifications that enable them to be safe and effective at their job.

For example, they have lights and sirens to help people see them. Additionally, many cop cars have bars in the front of their hoods to increase the possibility of the car remaining drivable if or when something was to impact the front of it.

If you are wondering if officers pay for upgrades to their vehicles, here is what you need to remember.

It Depends on the Department

First, it will depend on the department for which an officer works as to whether or not they pay for their vehicle upgrades. While some departments allow officers to do this, others have strict policies in place against officers upgrading vehicles on their own. 

Additionally, the budget allocation for such upgrades may or may not be there. In bigger cities where it is more likely to have a car crash into them or if they are to block the way of a reckless driver, it is likely that the department would pay to have ramming bars installed on their fleet vehicles. 

In smaller towns where that need is rare, the budget may be allocated elsewhere or for other necessities such as flood lights or a higher quality antenna when working in areas with unreliable coverage.

Department Budgets

As more localities struggle with creating budgets that have enough money for police departments, it is becoming more common for officers to pay for upgrades to their patrol vehicles. 

As to which upgrade is the most common, you will usually find it is installing additional police lights or other emergency lights that will let other drivers on the road know an emergency vehicle is nearby. 

Just as teachers often pay for school supplies out of their own pockets, many localities are now expecting police officers to do the same. The pay stubs for police officers don’t break down how they’re supposed to use their income.

However, some areas help police officers pay for housing, and thus it may free up some of their monthly pay to go toward car upgrades.

Assigned a Specific Car

If an officer is assigned a specific vehicle, it is much more common for them to pay for vehicle upgrades. While emergency lights are the most common upgrade, some officers also look to make upgrades that make their cars much faster. 

In fact, you may find some officers decide to install what are known as racing chips on their car's onboard computer. Once installed, this upgrade allows a vehicle to easily exceed 100 miles per hour, which can be critical in getting to a scene quickly or when in a high-speed pursuit. 

These types of upgrades are typically only done if the officer is frequently needing to increase the speed of their vehicle for their job and it is not typical for an officer to use these capabilities outside of duty.

Can They Afford It

Finally, many smaller police departments encourage their officers to make modifications to their cars if they can afford to do so. This can involve numerous types of modifications, such as engine improvements, cooling system upgrades to prevent overheating, tougher suspension systems, and enhanced electronics for communication systems, sirens, and emergency lights.

As a police officer, you have plenty of responsibilities you deal with on the job each day. Since you rely on your vehicle to keep yourself as well as others safe, paying for vehicle upgrades may ultimately mean the difference between life and death.

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