As San Jose grew, motor vehicle traffic increased and a need for a modern motorized police department was needed.  The first

motor vehicles used by the department were actually Indian and Harley Davidson motorcycles (officers had to purchase their 

own motors and were compensated for repairs and fuel consumption on duty).  San Jose had a large motorcycle division 

during the 1920's and 30's.  By the late 1920's motor vehicles were used as 2-man "prowler" cars, conducting burglary suppression.

The San Jose Police Historical Society has been fortunate enough to locate and preserve several of our patrol vehicles.  These patrol vehicles

represent a moment in time and for the officers who served a fond memory of a beloved (or despised) patrol unit.  The goal of the San Jose

Police Historical Society is to restore, preserve, and display these vehicles in a variety of community events and department functions so that

future generations of officers and their families can enjoy our shared history.  

The San Jose Police Department has a long history with the motor vehicle.  In early 1906 a newly purchased Rambler was driven to city hall in downtown San Jose.  Chief Jason Kidwell and three of his officers climbed in for a photo, and for many years this was believed to be the "first" police car used by the department.  This was only an opportunity photo, as the "horseless carrige" was still a novelty

Restored San Jose Police Vehicles