Bristol Police Department

Frequently Asked Questions

The Bristol Police department is compiling here, the most common asked questions to keep you informed. If someone asks us a question, we feel that there are many others that are wondering the same thing. 

Q: Where does the word COP come from?
A: "Cop" has long existed as a verb meaning "to take or seize", but it didn't begin to make the linguistic shifts necessary to turn it into a casual term for "police officer" until the mid-19th century.  The first example of 'cop' taking the meaning "to arrest" appeared in 1844, and the word then swiftly moved from being solely a verb for "take into police custody" to also encompassing a noun referring to the one doing the detaining.  By 1846, policemen were being described as "coppers", the '-er' ending having been appended to the "arrest" form of the verb, and by 1859 "coppers" were also being called "cops", the latter word a shortening of the former.

Q: How can I get a copy of an accident report?
A: Please allow 48 hours after reporting of an accident or incident to pick up a copy of a report.  Accident reports can be purchased online at

Q: Can I get my fingerprints done at the Bristol Police Department?
A: Yes.  There is a $5 fee and proper ID is required.

Q: How do I file for a gun permit?
A: Visit or to fill out an application online.  After the application has been submitted, you can go to your local police department to have fingerprints taken and to pay fees.

Q: How do I report a crime?
A: You can call the Bristol Police Department's non emergency number 574-848-4464, the Elkhart County Dispatch center 574-533-4151, or 9-1-1. You can now also use our online form  to give a tip or report a crime. This form is located on the "Contact Us" page.

Q: What do I do if I need assistance and no one is inside the police department?
A: You can either call the Bristol Police Department's non emergency number 574-848-4464 or you can use the phone outside the police department which dials directly to the Elkhart County Dispatch center.

Q: We are going out of town, is there any way that the police can watch my house?
A: Yes.  Residents of Bristol can fill out a Vacation Residential Information Report. This form can be found online on the "Services" page.

Q: What is the Indiana State Law on child safety restraints?
A: Indiana state law requires children less than 8 years old to ride in a federally approved car seat or booster seat that is appropriate for the child's height and weight. Indiana law also requires that the car seat or booster seat be installed and used according to the manufacturer's instructions. Children ages 8 to 16 must ride in a seat belt. The state of Indiana strongly encourages parents to place children in the back seat whenever possible, though this is not required by law.

Q: Can a Bristol Police Officer pull someone over and/or write a citation in another town?
A: Yes.  A Bristol Police Officer is a sworn officer for the State of Indiana.  They can enforce Indiana laws in any town.

Q: How do I view a list of the registered sex offenders in the area?
A: You can visit this website to view registered sex offenders.

 Q: What are the qualifications to be a Bristol Police Officer?
A: You need to be at least 21 years of age, have a valid drivers license, a high school diplopma or GED, no felony or domestic violence convictions. You also need to be able to pass a written test, physical test, and an extensive background check.

Q: Can I drive my golf cart in town?
A: Yes, but there are conditions.  The town of Bristol now has an ordinance that allows golf carts to be driven on city streets. First a registration application needs to be filled out and approved and a registration sticker needs to be affixed to the golf cart.  Also, golf carts can only be driven on the city streets, not the state roads. For more information, the complete ordinance is located on the "Information Links" page.

Q: My question was not answered here.
A: If you have a question not listed here, feel free to email us at

"Together We Can Make A Better Community"


  • Interested in becoming a Police Officer in Bristol? Please complete our Application and Questionnaire for consideration.  Both will need to be filled out and turned in for your application to be considered complete.
  • We are taking applications for our Mounted Officer (Posse) program.  Interested persons should fill out an application and questionnaire.