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  • Marked or Unmarked

    My department is in the planning stage for new Fire Investigation vehicles. The choice looks like it is down to the Explorer or Blazer. They will be putting siren and emergency lights on it. (the lights will be in the interior windshield and back window with some strobes in the tail lights and front lights). The question is: what are the benefits and pitfalls of having the outside of the vehicle marked?
    Any help will be appreciated. I need an argument to give to the Chief.
    Richard

  • #2
    My opinion is that a marked vehicle is appropriate for fire investigators. My department has a marked K-9 unit and the State Fire Marshal has marked vehicles. The Chicago Fire Dept. OFI has marked units as well. The only time I could see an unmarked vehicle being an asset is doing surveilance or making an arrest. If you are purchasing more then one, maybe you could keep one of them a little on the "downlow style".
    IAFF-IACOJ PROUD

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    • #3
      Publicly-owned vehicles

      Originally posted by ussmertzdd691
      My department is in the planning stage for new Fire Investigation vehicles. The choice looks like it is down to the Explorer or Blazer. They will be putting siren and emergency lights on it. (the lights will be in the interior windshield and back window with some strobes in the tail lights and front lights). The question is: what are the benefits and pitfalls of having the outside of the vehicle marked?
      Any help will be appreciated. I need an argument to give to the Chief.
      Richard
      I think the strong presumption, with public vehicles, is that the should be clearly identifiable as such. The exceptions would be what Mikey talks about, but that is about it.

      Mark the cars. That way, you won't have to deal with suspision from the public or your aldermen about how the vehicel will be used.

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      • #4
        Personally, I drive an unmarked explorer and I hate it. For emergencies it is almost impossible to get through traffic with a dash light and strobe kit. I agree, if you are doing undercover work then by all means stay unmarked. For day to day use, it is a great public image to have a marked vehicle.

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        • #5
          need a bit more info

          While I agree with all those in favor of a fully marked vehicle, are you talking about using an explorer with no markings and only inside lighting or what is known in some areas as a semi marked; inside lights with lettering & stripping?

          My two cents.... for Fire Investigators the bigger concern is how you set up the inside to carry all the equipement needed -vs- the blinky lights and sirens.
          If you need to stake someone out, you can always borrow an unmarked unit from the cops.

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          • #6
            Thanks guys, this is what I needed.

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            • #7
              All we have is unmarked vehicles for investigators. All are outfitted as you described and we have no problems with the public and their use. We do not have the budget for each investigator to have two vehicles for work and UC type activities.
              K-9 hunt, the ultimate challange.
              EVERYONE GOES HOME
              IACOJ

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              • #8
                I would get a MOU with your local law enforcment for unmarked vehicles, and use marked vehicles for day to day. Much better PR.


                Perhaps even pay mileage for the rare times you need unmarked, and use
                POV's

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