Flashback: Police lights have gone through major makeovers over the years

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We’ve all seen the flashing lights from police cars on the road.

Hopefully, you didn’t get pulled over.

Police lights have gone through some major makeovers through the years.

Officer Jim Ritter of the Seattle Metropolitan Police Museum has more in tonight’s flashback.

"For nearly a century police cars responding to emergency calls or making traffic stops have used flashing lights to alert drivers on their approach. What many of you may not know is the vast transitions in police lighting over the past 80 years.

"For example from the 1920's through the 1940's these were the primary lights used, either a single red beam lens or a red spotlight to warn motorists to pullover upon police approach. By 1950 rotating lights had been invented which would be mounted dead center on the police car for a complete 360 degree coverage to warn motorists of approaching police.

"The late 1960's brought improvements to police lighting. For example the lights that had originally been mounted dead center on the roof were now mounted on a bar with allowed for additional lighting to be installed. Here's a great example of a WSP light bar.

"Here's the example of a double beacon which was also attached to a bar used by SPD. One interesting thing is that in the early 1970s they had been all red, now they were changing to red and blue.

"In the 1990's strobe technology took over followed by LED lighting years later. Over the past 100 years light manufactures have strived to find better ways to improve visibility in police lighting to reduce accidents and keep our law enforcement officers safe. And that's the way it was. I'm officer Jim Ritter and this is 'Flashback.'"