Duluth Police Vehicles

Robert Cox (left) and Robert Grytdahl on patrol in 1976.News Tribune

Today’s Duluth Police Department vehicles are black and white, and so are the ones I found scrounging through an old folder full of Duluth police photos. Enjoy a look back at Duluth’s finest and their various styles of motoring methods. Some of the photos have downtown Duluth in the background. Can anyone recognize the locations or know any of the officers featured?

–Dave Nevanen, copy editor

New Chevy Nova police cars in 1978. News Tribune

Patrolman Donald Rockwell (left) checks a drivers license as patrolman Edward McLean pulls the squad car into curb at 5th Ave. W. and Superior Streeet in 1958. Photo by Earl Johnson

John Derosier (left) and Dennis England patrol with snowmobiles in 1971. Charles Curtis/News Tribune

Parking ticket vehicle in 1964. Charles Curtis / News Tribune

11 Responses

  1. Todd

    The Duluth police cars in the late 60’s to 1977 where a dark blue & white. In 1977 they changed to light blue & white. They changed to all white with the city’s sail boat emblem in the 80’s, those where the ones I liked. The current panda design looks so cheese with their worn out design.

  2. KA

    I vividly recall ’57 and ’58 Chevs being red and white. That was pretty wild for Duluth in those days especially when patrol cars had always been just black.

  3. PJ, Duluth

    My uncle, Joe Hero, was a downtown cop for many years. A nice guy. It’s funny that I didn’t appreciate the humor of his name until I was about 40. Talk about your late bloomers…

  4. Ted

    I think by far the ugliest and goofiest looking police car’s Duluth has had were those huge bulbous Chevy’s (Chevy Impala/Caprice maybe ?)they had back in the mid 1990’s through just a few years ago. You know…the ones that were white with some blue and that “pretty” mauve color spalshed on the side….lol. I’m not a criminal and have never been chased by the cops…but I’d think rather than inspiring respect/fear…the look of those cars driving around or chasing through town would be more likely to cause laughter and a smirk. The new cars they have now which are black and white are much better looking in my opinion.

    1. Robert

      Yes, the 1991 and 1992 Chevrolet Caprice was ugly, but it was comfortable and fast. In 1993 Chevrolet did away with the rear fender skirts (which were ugly but did help fuel economy) and the car was much better looking. Beginning in 1994 and until 1996, the Caprice had the optional 350 Corvette multi-port injected engines and were great cars, capable of 150 MPH.

  5. Kathie

    The one titled “New Chevy Nova police cars in 1978” is sitting in the driveway of the police garage at City Hall.

    1. Robert

      The 9C1 Nova from 1976-1978 was my favorite police car I ever drove. Back when civilian sedans floated like boats, the Nova had excellent handling even by today’s standards. The Los Angeles Sheriffs absolutely loved them. In 1979 it was replaced by the Malibu police car, which was also an excellent vehicle.

  6. Arvo Maki

    It’s too bad you don’t have a picture of those really hot and fear inspiring police cars they used in Superior in the early 1960s — boxy Studebaker Larks!

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