(photo by Lee Bey)
The venerable "M-plate," the special municipal license plate bearing the prefix 'M'‚ that has been affixed to police cars for generations, is being slowly retired by the Chicago Police Department this year, according to a spokesman.
Its replacement? A new state-issued "MP" (for "Municipal Police") plate‚ similar to those now being used by other Illinois municipal police departments. Police spokesman Roderick Drew said the department this year began putting the new plates on the Chevy Tahoe SUVs that are being phased in to replace the aged Ford Crown Victoria as squad cars.
"It looks like as they get them in, they'll [equip] them with the new plates," he said.
Hundreds of non-law enforcement city vehicles bear the M-plate and would be unaffected by the change. But since at least the 1950s, the M plate-equipped squad car has been one of the more enduring, albeit minor, Chicago symbols.