CARLISLE, Pa. — Pennsylvania State Police will be going gray on the highways of the commonwealth.
New gray Ford Interceptor utility and sedan vehicles were unveiled Friday by the state police at the Carlisle barrack. It was the first barrack in Troop H, which includes Franklin County, to have both versions of the marked patrol vehicles in its fleet.
The state police has a fleet of 1,112 marked units. The new color scheme will be phased in over a three-year period starting this year. As vehicles reach the end of their service life, they will be replaced with a vehicle in the new color.
The staggered rollout saves money and is more efficient because patrol vehicles will not be taken out of service to be repainted, officials said.
One goal of the change is to have the vehicle more identifiable for the public and department, officials said. The new color, plus the word “Trooper” enlarged, helps to better identify with the historical aspects of the department and associate the color of the patrol vehicle with the color of the uniform, officials said.
The gray coloring was introduced by the first commissioner of the state police, John C. Groome, in 1905, and has been incorporated into the uniform ever since.
The first “marked” patrol cars were white starting in 1937. From 1938 to 1946 the color was still white, but the hoods were painted black to cut down on glare from the sun.
From 1946 to 1963, the cars were a solid medium- to light-gray. The 1963 Chevy was the last all-gray car.
With 1963 Fords, the cars were white with green hoods and trunk lids. In 1972 and 1973, the department experimented with using the state colors of gold and blue.
From 1974 through 1991 the cars were again white, but with blue hoods and deck lids. The current color combination, with the state police patch, was adopted in 1991 with the Chevy Caprice.