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Red/Blue lights and "Police" markings on construction vehicles. Legal?

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  • Red/Blue lights and "Police" markings on construction vehicles. Legal?

    I live in the DFW area, where there is constant highway construction. I've noticed that when highway construction crews are working in the evenings or at night, there are sometimes several vehicles parked in the construction zones with red and blue lights, and magnetic decals on the sides of their car that read "Police". Has anyone else seen this. Is this legal?

    The cars dont appear to be the typical unmarked/undercover type, so I doubt that they belong to a police agency. Also, the decals look cheap, and don't look legit...such as dark red with yellow lettering on a white Jeep SUV.

    I've also seen these types of vehicles following around the seismic testing crews, perhaps providing some sort of safety escort.

    This is something that I've noticed seeing over the past couple of years. Any thoughts?

  • #2
    To my knowledge, it is not legal for construction vehicles to have red and blue lights. The vehicles you are referring to are off duty officers who are working an extra job.
    I yell "PIKACHU" before I tase someone.

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    • #3
      They're off duty LEOs using their personal vehicles. The lights and decals are placed on the vehicles while they're working the detail.
      “The man in black fled across the desert, and the gunslinger followed."

      "You go for a man hard enough and fast enough, he don't have time to think about how many's with him; he thinks about himself, and how he might get clear of that wrath that's about to set down on him."

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      • #4
        Thanks for the quick replies. I just thought it was odd, because sometimes I see marked patrol units working in the detail, and sometimes I see these other unmarked vehicles in the details.

        I also wasn't sure if it was legal for Texas LEOs to put red/blue lights on their POVs.

        Comment


        • #5
          State law allows you to have blue lights and what have you on your car IF your car is an emergency vehicle. I've heard of volunteer firefighters being allowed to equip their POVs and the like in certain circumstances. (which is also why you see some ONCOR vehicles equipped with them.)

          In this case the POVs you see on the freeway sitting with work crews is strictly as a safety precaution but the LEOs occupying them are working in an official capacity. The marked squads you see will be there if the construction company goes to a particular department and it's authorized by the same department.
          “The man in black fled across the desert, and the gunslinger followed."

          "You go for a man hard enough and fast enough, he don't have time to think about how many's with him; he thinks about himself, and how he might get clear of that wrath that's about to set down on him."

          Comment


          • #6
            Although I never fixed my car up working construction gigs, there is some
            merit to having some sort of red/blue lights going (especially at night) while working an extra job on a road/highway. Yellow construction lights don't phase a lot of people, but reds and blues tend to get attention and slow people down, which ultimately makes the site safer for everyone.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by rfs2005 View Post
              Thanks for the quick replies. I just thought it was odd, because sometimes I see marked patrol units working in the detail, and sometimes I see these other unmarked vehicles in the details.

              I also wasn't sure if it was legal for Texas LEOs to put red/blue lights on their POVs.
              The law as far as I know, says Texas LEO's can have R/B's in their personal vehicles if they have a letter from a supervisor. I can't remember excatly what the law says, but im sure most agencies who allow extra jobs give their officers letters.

              As far as the vehicle decals go, it's really no different than some of the officers who wear a generic patch on their shoulders that just say's Police and doesn't identify the specific agency they work for. The decals are usually magnetic and just slapped on for the extra job shift.
              "If you find yourself in a fair fight, your tactics suck"

              Comment


              • #8
                Here's what the transportation code says:

                Sec.*547.305.**RESTRICTIONS ON USE OF LIGHTS. (a) A motor vehicle lamp or illuminating device, other than a headlamp, spotlamp, auxiliary lamp, turn signal lamp, or emergency vehicle or school bus warning lamp, that projects a beam with an intensity brighter than 300 candlepower shall be directed so that no part of the high-intensity portion of the beam strikes the roadway at a distance of more than 75 feet from the vehicle.
                (b)**Except as expressly authorized by law, a person may not operate or move equipment or a vehicle, other than a police vehicle, with a lamp or device that displays a red light visible from directly in front of the center of the equipment or vehicle.
                (c)**A person may not operate a motor vehicle equipped with a red, white, or blue beacon, flashing, or alternating light unless the equipment is:
                (1)**used as specifically authorized by this chapter; or
                (2)**a running lamp, headlamp, taillamp, backup lamp, or turn signal lamp that is used as authorized by law.

                SUBCHAPTER C. VEHICLES, RAIL TRANSPORTATION, AND EQUIPMENT

                Sec.*541.201.**VEHICLES. In this subtitle:

                (13-a)**"Police vehicle" means a vehicle used by a peace officer, as defined by Article 2.12, Code of Criminal Procedure, for law enforcement purposes that:
                (A)**is owned or leased by a governmental entity;
                (B)**is owned or leased by the police department of a private institution of higher education that commissions peace officers under Section 51.212, Education Code; or
                (C)**is:
                (i)**a private vehicle owned or leased by the peace officer; and
                (ii)**approved for use for law enforcement purposes by the head of the law enforcement agency that employs the peace officer, or by that person's designee, provided that use of the private vehicle must, if applicable, comply with any rule adopted by the commissioners court of a county under Section 170.001, Local Government Code, and that the private vehicle may not be considered an authorized emergency vehicle for exemption purposes under Section 228.054, 284.070, 366.178, or 370.177, Transportation Code, unless the vehicle is marked.
                Austin Texas Police Department (APD)

                03/25/10: PT: Passed
                03/25/10: Nelson Denny - Passed
                03/25/10: Writing Sample - Passed
                03/26/10: INI - Passed
                03/26/10: MMP - Passed
                03/26/10: Oral Interview - Passed
                06/07/10: Background Investigation - Passed
                09/07/10: Medical/drug screening - Passed
                09/08/10: Polygraph - Passed
                09/08/10: Psych evaluation - Passed
                09/23/10: Eligibility Roster - #26

                08/15/2011 - Academy Starts

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                • #9
                  Soo looks like the "police" decal is to allow for the exemption??
                  "If you find yourself in a fair fight, your tactics suck"

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                  • #10
                    Probably the Grand Saline officers that take extra jobs away from DPD.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by K9krazy21 View Post
                      Soo looks like the "police" decal is to allow for the exemption??
                      The decal is for identification purposes. An officer's private vehicle must be marked to be an authorized emergency vehicle.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I've seen construction vehicles up here on the interstate with Blue lights. Weird.

                        As far as Red and Blues getting the attention of people... I'm not sure if it's a Texas thing or a metroplex thing but people around here drive with their head up their *** when it comes to police cars. I've come to intersections before with lights and sirens at night and had people drive right through like I'm not even there. Yielding as I'm trying to go to a call? Good luck.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by beavo451 View Post
                          The decal is for identification purposes. An officer's private vehicle must be marked to be an authorized emergency vehicle.
                          Thats what I was getting at, I probably could have put it better..

                          Local Government Code, and that the private vehicle may not be considered an authorized emergency vehicle for exemption purposes under Section 228.054, 284.070, 366.178, or 370.177, Transportation Code, unless the vehicle is marked.
                          "If you find yourself in a fair fight, your tactics suck"

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Se7en View Post
                            I've seen construction vehicles up here on the interstate with Blue lights. Weird.
                            I don't know for sure what gives them authorization to do that, but I think it is because of the following.


                            Sec. 547.002. APPLICABILITY. Unless a provision is specifically made applicable, this chapter and the rules of the department adopted under this chapter do not apply to1) an implement of husbandry;(2) road machinery;(3) a road roller;(4) a farm tractor;(5) a bicycle, a bicyclist, or bicycle equipment;(6) an electric bicycle, an electric bicyclist, or electric bicycle equipment; or(7) a golf cart that is operated only as authorized by Section 551.403.

                            Sec. 547.305. RESTRICTIONS ON USE OF LIGHTS. (a) A motor vehicle lamp or illuminating device, other than a headlamp, spotlamp, auxiliary lamp, turn signal lamp, or emergency vehicle or school bus warning lamp, that projects a beam with an intensity brighter than 300 candlepower shall be directed so that no part of the high-intensity portion of the beam strikes the roadway at a distance of more than 75 feet from the vehicle.(b) Except as expressly authorized by law, a person may not operate or move equipment or a vehicle, other than a police vehicle, with a lamp or device that displays a red light visible from directly in front of the center of the equipment or vehicle.(c) A person may not operate a motor vehicle equipped with a red, white, or blue beacon, flashing, or alternating light unless the equipment is1) used as specifically authorized by this chapter; or(2) a running lamp, headlamp, taillamp, backup lamp, or turn signal lamp that is used as authorized by law.(d) A vehicle may be equipped with alternately flashing lighting equipment described by Section 547.701 or 547.702 only if the vehicle is1) a school bus;(2) an authorized emergency vehicle;(3) a church bus that has the words "church bus" printed on the front and rear of the bus so as to be clearly discernable to other vehicle operators;(4) a tow truck while under the direction of a law enforcement officer at the scene of an accident or while hooking up to a disabled vehicle on a roadway; or(5) a tow truck with a mounted light bar which has turn signals and stop lamps in addition to those required by Sections 547.322, 547.323, and 547.324, Transportation Code.(e) A person may not operate highway maintenance or service equipment, including snow-removal equipment, that is not equipped with lamps or that does not display lighted lamps as required by the standards and specifications adopted by the Texas Department of Transportation.(f) In this section "tow truck" means a motor vehicle or mechanical device that is adapted or used to tow, winch, or move a disabled vehicle.
                            I know 547.305 seemingly contradicts itself, but when was the last time a code this thick was clear?

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              The transportation code is clear as mud when it comes to lights. I feel it should designate colors, red/blue for LE, red/white EMS/Fire, amber construction.

                              I really hated it when local vollys (late teens early 20's) would run red/blues to the station, plus they usually had more lights that our patrol cars.
                              "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called Sons of God - Matthew 5:9

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