MSP's new beacon was designed by SoundOff Signal. It boasts 144 LEDs. That's a 42% increase from the previous model.  -  Photo: Michigan State Police

MSP's new beacon was designed by SoundOff Signal. It boasts 144 LEDs. That's a 42% increase from the previous model.

Photo: Michigan State Police

For some law enforcement agencies, features on their vehicles are a major part of their identity. For Michigan State Police, it's the red bubble lighting. The agency just shared that the beacon will be redesigned, but the iconic single light will not be going away.

An MSP spokesperson told Government Fleet that the agency partnered with SoundOff Signal to redesign its well-known single beacon using feedback from MSP officers.

The final product expands the functionality of the beacon, providing technologies that until now were only available in a traditional light bar.

The redesign will allow patrol vehicles to access facilities that were previously inaccessible.

In 2020, GM redesigned its Chevrolet Tahoe PPV for the 2021 model year, resulting in an increase in the overall vehicle height. As a result, fully upfitted MSP Tahoe PPVs had difficulty entering some secured facilities with standard garage door openings. 

MSP's beacon was last updated in 2009 when the original housing was retrofitted with LEDs. The beacon that will be replaced is pictured here.  -  Photo: Michigan State Police

MSP's beacon was last updated in 2009 when the original housing was retrofitted with LEDs. The beacon that will be replaced is pictured here.

Photo: Michigan State Police

Increasing Officer Visibility

The upgrade will increase visibility for officer safety, the agency noted. New features include:

  • 360˚ scene, front takedown, alley, and reverse lighting: White lighting around the entire vehicle will create additional visibility during incident management, investigations, and search and recovery efforts.
  • 360˚ warning light (off-angle): Reflectors provide for a full coverage of emergency lighting around the vehicle, providing better off-angle coverage during traffic stops and intersection clearing.
  • Additional visibility: Although the new modernized beacon is 3 inches shorter, the new beacon boasts 144 LEDs. That's a 42% increase from the previous model.
  • Synchronized flash patterns: These are designed to increase officer safety during traffic stops and scene investigations, as well as provide less distraction and more clarity for approaching motorists.

The new beacons will be installed on all of MSP's new builds starting this year. The agency does not have plans to retrofit its older vehicles with the new lighting. This year, the agency has approximately 100 Chevrolet Tahoe PPVs and 100 Dodge Durango Pursuit vehicles scheduled to be built.

MSP's new beacon design (left) allows Tahoe PPVs to access facilities with lower garage entrances. The previous design (right) made them too tall for some entrances.  -  Photo: Michigan State Police

MSP's new beacon design (left) allows Tahoe PPVs to access facilities with lower garage entrances. The previous design (right) made them too tall for some entrances.

Photo: Michigan State Police

MSP's beacon was last updated in 2009 when the original housing was retrofitted with LEDs.  Since then, the only major change made to the beacon was the adjustment to the flash pattern, which was changed from the original rotary pattern to a triple burst flash pattern. 

What Are the Signs on the Hood of the Vehicles?

The “Stop State Police” sign on the hood of the patrol vehicles is a longtime feature. The sign is rooted in MSP history; the current hood sign is an imitation of the original stop sign on the fender of the agency's motorcycles dating back to the early 1920s. 

The sign was originally created because MSP performed “side stops." It made it easy for troopers to identify themselves. MSP stopped using motorcycles in the early 1940s and a larger “Stop State Police” hood sign was installed on the hoods of the patrol cars around 1949. 

The hood signs had multiple uses: they were signage for “side stops”, blockades, and eventually became a form of recognition of a Michigan State Police patrol vehicle. 

Although the hood sign is now largely ornamental, troopers still use the illuminated sign when responding to calls for service to make the vehicle more recognizable to the residents when responding to calls for service.

About the author
Christy Grimes

Christy Grimes

Senior Editor

Christy Grimes is a Senior Editor at Bobit, working on Automotive Fleet and Government Fleet publications. She has also written for School Bus Fleet.

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