Video: Building a Police Chevy Tahoe for Highway Patrol Duty is WAY MORE Work Than We Expected

The California Highway Patrol takes you behind the scenes to see how they convert a police spec Chevy Tahoe for service.

2018 2019 2020 police chevy tahoe ppv
image: Chevrolet

The wiring job alone will make you vomit. That’s the takeaway we have after stumbling across this detailed look into the California Highway Patrol’s retrofit operation on their Chevy Tahoe Police Pursuit Vehicles. Posted on YouTube last summer as part of a recruiting push, the video follows the 11-step process of converting a Tahoe to CHP (California Highway Patrol) spec. It was an eye-opener to see just how much work goes into each SUV. We assumed that since we know these Chevy’s arrive at CHP’s Fleet Ops center in Sacramento built to police specifications, the hard work was done. Pfff! Not even close.

California Highway Patrol Chevy Tahoe Police Pursuit
A fresh new, CHP Chevy Tahoe, ready for service [image courtesy of California Highway Patrol]

Start with a Chevy Tahoe Police Pursuit, Then Gut It

In short, the CHP’s techs completely gut the interior of the SVU and then start adding their stuff—the communications set-up requires a hydraulic jack just to lift it into the rear cargo area of the Tahoe. Add miles of wiring, shotgun holder, safety divider, computer/radio stack, lights, radar, and even custom-made cupholders (apparently a relatively new feature), then more wiring, and after several days the newest CHP Tahoe is ready for service.

CHP Chevy Tahoe Communications Tray
That’s a lot of radios! A tech wheels the comms tray into the cargo area of a CHP Chevy Tahoe. [image courtesy of California Highway Patrol].

First Take on the Next-Gen Tahoe

See for yourself how they do it by clicking on the video above. And to get an idea of what GM delivers to the CHP in the first place, check out André’s video from last year on the release of the 2021 Chevy Tahoe Police Pursuit vehicle. It features GM’s 5.3L V8 and a 10-speed transmission and takes off from the Z71 off-road package.

CHP custom cup holder
Until recently, there were no cupholders in CHP Tahoes. Now they have two and officers are very grateful. [image courtesy of California Highway Patrol]

Interested in driving one of these tricked-out Tahoes? Head to or go to their YouTube channel [] to learn how.

Here is a video look at the next generation of the Chevy Tahoe PPV.