DISCLAIMER: All the information contained in this document is provided solely for the benefit of collectors and fans of the show "CHiPs" to assist them in constructing a "CHiPs" replica costume. In no way is it intended for use in any attempt to impersonate any law enforcement officer.
The following information was provided by Art from information posted on The "CHiPs" Online Forum and should answer just about any question you have on where to find materials for making a "CHiPs" costume.
Art and his friends put their uniforms together in February and March of 2000, so most of this information should still be valid, but prices may have changed. The only problems could be for those people who live in California since it may be difficult, if not completely illegal, to fabricate a CHP uniform replica for California residents. It is up to everyone to check local laws for themselves. Some retailers may think you're trying to impersonate an actual officer and hesitate to sell to you. (Refer to the episode "One Two Many" to see what happens to CHP impersonators.) Probably the best way to approach retailers if questioned on your purchase is just to tell the truth -- "I collect "CHiPs" memorabilia and am creating a costume" and leave it at that.
This page lists individual components necessary to make a close replica of Jon and Ponch's uniforms and lists a supplier and any other pertinent details for each item. The items are listed at the top and dealers are listed at the bottom. The items are followed by the names of dealers who sell the selected item. You can find them in the dealer list at the bottom of the page.
The SD600 is the helmet worn in the classic "CHiPs" episodes. It costs around $150. The MC500V is the current CHP issue, costs around $285, and doesn't include a microphone. They paint it to exact CHP specs. They also sell a SHOEI current-issue CHP helmet, but it's $410.
None of the helmets have the "winged wheel" CHP logo. Another alternative is to buy either style of helmet from a motorcycle shop in plain white and then paint it yourself. You'll need to buy a snap-on visor with a gold band (V102, $5.50) too. Use Krylon or similar spray paint (after masking the lines carefully) and finish with a coat of spray lacquer.
Another alternative is the Bell "Shorty" open-face motorcycle helmet, which is available in black with a black plastic visor. http://www.bellsports.com/powersports/helmets/street/open-face/shorty
- MaxPro Police
They don't have anything specifically with CHP on it, nor any decals, but they do sell a gold "winged wheel" metal helmet badge with blue "Police Motor Officer" lettering for $59. It looks very close to the CHP helmet decal. Also inquire if they have any "misprinted/mistake" badges like these. Sometimes they do and they're usually half-price.
Also try searching online for a "winged wheel" decal to stick on the helmet. In the fall of 2012, there were several available on eBay for about $6 each.
- Squad Fitters
You can probably figure this one out on your own.
Jon's - S55-108, $16.95 Ponch's - S55-110, $18.95
Here's where you can either spend a lot of money and get the real deal or look around and save hundreds. Dehner Boot Company sells actual motor officer boots -- lace up instep with a strap at the top of the boot. You're looking at $400-$500. Even on eBay, used ones frequently go for $200-$300 and Dehner cautions against buying used boots. Their web site gives more details on this issue.
You may also be able to locate knee-length East German officer's smooth leather boots (not pebble-finished). You'll have to scour local surplus stores, but when you find them, expect to pay only about $50.
You can also visit a tack/riding shop and get boots made out of a synthetic rubber-type material that look okay for about $50 as well.
If you want just regular CHP-style shoes, Quartermaster sells them (Q87-28) for $68.50. You can probably get lesser quality and/or used shoes similar to these at a surplus or thrift shop for much less.
Sinatra Uniforms (ex Sinatra Manufacturing) also sells very good quality CHP-style boots via All American Boots Co. They price around $300 but there are what most of the real CHP get (Can a low paid cop afford the $800+ orginal Dehner's boots?). Purchase needs to be made thru Sinatra Uniforms as All American Boots Co. doesn't sell to the general public.
- Dehner Boot Company
- Sinatra Uniforms
For a child's CHiP costume, you can try looking for a costume boot online. The kids' knee-height black "Funtasma Captain Boot" was on sale at Amazon.com for about $30 in September 2012.
Belt and Holster
The following is a list of the pieces needed when using a Beretta M92, which is what some CHP officers currently use (see "CHiPs" '99). They still have the option of using a Smith & Wesson 66 or 68 (like in the series) or a Smith & Wesson 4006 Tactical Semi-Automatic .40, but it can be difficult to get replicas of these. Also, make sure all snaps/buckles are brass. The CHP doesn't use nickel-plated hardware.
- S69-452-1 basketweave underbelt $14.95
- S99-300 brass Sam Brown Belt $26.95
- S69-315-B brass baton ring $3.95
- S69-330-B brass handcuff case (single) $11.95
- S69-305-B single key keeper $1.95 (you will need 3-4 of these)
- S69-362-B brass 9mm double mag pouch $13.95
- S69-343 holster for Beretta M92 $39.95
These are the minimum things you'd need for an authentic belt set. Check surplus stores, etc.. You might be able to find this stuff very cheap. Just make sure it's black, basketweave, and brass. If you want to customize your belt, check the Quartermaster catalog for other accessories like mace holders, etc.
One thing that could not be found was the large rectangular pouch that Ponch and Jon usually wore on their back left hip. A source at the CHP said that it was never standard issue and he thought they might have used it to hold a wireless microphone. It seems only the principal actors had it and none of the background CHP officers.
Smith & Wesson replicas are hard to find, so we suggest the current issue Beretta M92 (UHC Beretta Silver HW, $39.95). It's a silver-colored plastic with simulated wood grips. Don't worry, it's not a real gun. mIt shoots plastic BBs and it's perfectly legal to own in most states if you're over 18. However, don't go waving it around in public.
It comes with an orange barrel tip, but you have to remove this so it will fit in the holster. Remember, though, that the orange tip is there so that real police officers won't think that you are pointing a real gun at them, so use caution, especially if you are providing the pistol to a child. It only comes with 30 BBs and you can't buy them at Wal-Mart or a sports shop when they run out. Order extra when you purchase the gun.
- Fain's World of AirSoft Guns
You'll want item S22-29 for $36.95. You have to request the CHP stripe (Q39-CHP, $8.95) and they will sew it on for you. These pants are actually what cruiser officers wear. They're like regular slacks and the pockets are slightly different from those of motor officers. The color is the correct silver and tan. It has the 2 "billie" pockets and it doesn't cost close to $200 like actual riding breeches would! (If you want breeches, check with F. Morton Pitt, J.B. Battle Uniform Co., Saba's Uniforms, and Sinatra Manufacturing.)
You may want to take your slacks to a seamstress to have them taper the legs to be form-fitting and add elastic "stirrups" so they will stay tucked in the boot.
Note: Sinatra Manufacturing has changed their name to "New Sinatra Uniform" and they are now located in Downtown LA (see updated address at the end). If you want the real deal in terms of CHP breeches that's the place to go. Around $200 for the breeches but that's really worth it. This is where all the LAPD and CHP cops get theirs.
- Sinatra Uniforms
There are several options for shirts:
Quartermaster carries S33-108 (short sleeve $17.95) or S31-118 (long sleeve $19.95). The shirts are okay for the price, but the chest pockets have a box pleat which real CHP uniforms do not, but this is a minor detail. They can add a zipper for $5.00 extra since the CHP has this in their shirts. The catalog says they'll sew 2 patches free and they sell the CHP shoulder patch (more on that later), but they absolutely refuse to sew them on unless you can prove you are a CHP officer. However, they will sell you the patches separately. Go figure.
You may want to consider buying a short sleeve shirt from F. Morton Pitt because they are a certified CHP supplier. Plus, they tailor the sleeves (if short-sleeve) and torso to get that "Ponch-tight" fit. It can cost around $60, but it's dead on. However, they won't sew the patches on for you.
- F. Morton Pitt
Other companies, Sinatra Uniforms (ex-Sinatra Manufacturing) and Saba's Uniforms, sell the certified shirts, trousers, and breeches, but we don't have info on their prices. Probably around $75 for shirts, $100-$125 pants, $200 breeches.
- Sinatra Uniforms (ex-Sinatra Manufacturing)
- Saba's Uniforms
For a child's costume shirt, check out sheplers.com. Their "Gibson Trading Co. Boy's Soid Khaki Western Shirt" is a reasonable substitute in a child's size. It comes in long-sleeved only, which could be good if the child is trick or treating in a cold climate. You can tell them that the "real" CHiPs wear long-sleeve shirts in cooler weather (this is true) or you could cut & hem the sleeves if they must have the exact Ponch & Jon look.
Patches and Insignia
You can find just about everything from Quartermaster:
- A14-2063-C CHP Shoulder Patch: $4.95 (You'll need two.) If Quartermaster refuses to sell it to you because you are not a real police officer, try searching online for a secondary reseller.
- Q01-31-05 CHP mini badge: $3.95 (Use this as your marksman badge on right pocket...not exact, but close.)
- S01-715 7-point star badge: $10.95 (Use this as your "shield", unless you can find a CHP replica somewhere. Paint the center circle gold with model paint applied with a small brush.)
- S10-16G nameplate: $4.95
This is more similar to what was used in "CHiPs" '99 than the series. You can either get last name (all caps) or first initial and last name. To be truly accurate, go to a trophy shop and see if they can make you a brass nameplate with 2 clutch pins, measuring 3/8 inch by 2 and 3/8 inches. The reason for this is so that if you're ever lucky enough to find the "winged wheel" safety award backing device, it will fit in there. (It is the thing Ponch got when his mom came to visit and is also in the show opener when they do a close-up of Jon's name tag.)
You should be able to do this at a cost of about $6 each. Make sure you pick the appropriate font if you get them made locally. (Quartermaster doesn't give you a choice.) The engraving should be royal blue, but it's doubtful that most engravers will do anything besides black.
Rank Pins and Patches
Typical ranks are Officer, Sergeant, Lieutenant, and then Captain. An officer has no additional patches or pins.
- S14-5427 Sergeant's stripes $2.50/pr. (Typically worn only on long sleeves, but currently the CHP is using on short sleeves as well. Art couldn't find the gold/blue metal colar Sgt. pin like Getraer wore. The closest would be plain gold ones, S02-106, $2.75/pr.)
- F02-102 gold Lt. bar $4.50/pr.
- S02-112 gold Captain's bars $4.95/pr.
Actual marksmanship pins and safety awards are out there. You may be able to find some through individuals on eBay. Prices can vary wildly. As far as badges, the ones listed above are okay.
For batons, unless you're in law enforcement or security, you may not be able to get one. If you do get one, check your local ordinances to see if you could even wear it to a Halloween party. You might be surprised. Check local surplus shops where they may sell for around $5. You may need to strip paint off and lacquer it to achieve that "Baker blond baton" look.
If you want a winter duty jacket like Jon and Ponch wore, Quartermaster has it for $29.95 (S48-101 black, S48-100 navy blue). Black was what's actually used, but in some episodes it looked blue. Remember too, you'll need 2 shoulder patches and another shield. (Most uniform shops will gladly sew your patches on for $1-2 each.)
If you're interested in an Emergency! paramedic uniform, Transcontinental Sales Company sells the blue shirt, dark blue trousers, and dark blue jacket. Crown Enterprises has the left shoulder paramedic patch. Surplus stores should have a black web belt with silver military buckle. You'll probably have to get a white plastic nameplate with black edges/lettering made at a local engraver (for paramedic/firefighters -- firefighters had silver metal nameplates).
Quartermaster has similar style badges, just check out through their catalog and web site. For a paramedic pin (above the nameplate), any small, circular, silver pin will do.
For black work boots, Old School Fire Department has replica LACoFD helmets available with various station numbers, paramedic, captain, battalion chief, etc. eBay often has the actual helmets used -- search under "MSA helmet". (MSA was the manufacturer.)
Baird Company has lots of patches for sale, including a CHP badge patch (which looks like the actual badge, but is sewn on), a CHP civilian patch, and a CHP pilot's wings patch. They also sell a "Joe Friday" LAPD badge as does Book 'Em Productions, which also has LAPD/LASO patches. These can be used to make an Adam-12 costume. Quartermaster even sells LAPD-certified uniforms.
Be sure to check the product numbers before you order anything.
- Baird Company
- PO Box 7240
- Moreno Valley, CA 92552-7240
- (909) 943-4180
- Book 'Em Productions
- 2937 Seneca Turnpike
- Route 5
- Canastota, NY 13032
- (888) BOOK-EM-1 (266-5361)
- Crown Enterprises
- 15936 Lashburn Street
- Whittier, CA 90603
- Dehner Boot Company
- 3614 Martha Street
- Omaha, NE 68105-3100
- (402) 342-7788
- F. Morton Pitt
- 4562 Westinghouse Street
- Suite F
- Ventura, CA 93003-5797
- (800) 533-2838
- Fain's World of AirSoft Guns
- 470 Shay Lind Court
- Lilburn, GA 30047-6585
- (770) 935-0876
- J.B. Battle Uniform Co.
- 1241 South Walker
- PO Box 24028
- Oklahoma City, OK 73124
- (405) 232-6431
- MaxPro Police
- 4181 West 5800 North
- Mountain Green, UT 84050
- (800) 876-5423
- Old School Fire Department
- 1077 East Pacific Coast Highway
- Suite 143
- Seal Beach, CA 90740
- PO Box 829
- Long Beach, CA 90801-0829
- (800) 444-8643
- Definitely request their catalog.
- Saba's Uniforms
- 915 Baker Street
- Bakersfield, CA 93305
- (661) 323-7834
- The New Sinatra Uniform co. (ex-Sinatra Manufacturing)
- 2614 S. Main Street
- Los Angeles, CA 90007
- (213) 747 1610
- Squad Fitters
- 1304 Parkland Court
- PO Box 6388
- Champaign, IL 61821
- (800) 491-1267
- Transcontinental Sales Company
- 5725 South Main Street
- Los Angeles, CA 90037-4171
- (888) 299-8830
- (323) 234-8830