LEGO Classic
Most of the sets from 80s
LEGO company started its operations back in the 60s and the beginnings of the town sets can be seen already in the 70s. In those years various sets of police, firefighters and also typical town sets began to appear. Most of the sets contained no figures yet, and vehicles or buildings had different proportions, usually incorrect. Vehicles without cabins and windows created with transparent bricks. However, in this article I will focus on the sets of the 80s from Town theme. However, it is worth to mention a few sets of the late 70s because the Town theme started in 1978 already.
LEGO Classic
Police vehicles from 1978
First sets of police available in Town theme were still in the trial period, if I can call it like that. In the 70s you will find that the LEGO designers have tried different concepts. Vehicles with tinted windows constructed of transparent bricks, large figures similar to those of the Technic theme or even mini-figures with fixed arms and legs. Police car from LEGO-600 set was just such transition model. It had contained a new figure indeed with movable arms and legs, but the car still had windows from transparent bricks and without the driver's seat. Next Vehicle from LEGO-621 set was better. It had a cabin and normal windscreen, but still the front lights were in the form of a sticker. A set of LEGO-644 contained the vehicle without a cabin and with windscreen made of transparent bricks.
You can clearly notice that LEGO was not yet determined in which direction to follow.
LEGO Classic
Police sets from the begining of the 80s
The first building of the police in Town theme appeared in 1979 in a set of LEGO-381-1, but even assigned it to the Classic subtheme. Just as I described above, this set was similarly not yet fully appropriate. Although the vehicle had a cabin and a helicopter had a place for a pilot, but still the motorcycle was built from ordinary bricks. Bricks are simply too wide to be able to build such a narrow vehicle. You will notice that it looks a little strange and disproportionate. Fortunately, the designers of LEGO discontinued this idea, and new motorcycle appeared in following years in the form of a single part. Wheels could be attached to such part along with several bricks at the back and the front. This form was very successful and functioned for a long time, at least in every following Town theme set with motorcycles. In the same year, as in 1979, a standalone police helicopter included in LEGO-645-1 set was released, which was exactly the same as in a set of LEGO-381-1. The helicopter was pretty good, apart from the too wide tail.
Small set of four police officers was released in 1982 with a new look already , which was used in a following sets of police for a long period of time in the Town theme. Two very common police torsos in coveralls with zipper and the suit have been used for at least 10 years in many police sets.

Town theme

LEGO Classic
Police vans from 80s
In my humble opinion, the real Town theme in police sets began in 1981. The first police van appeared in 6681-1: Police Van set. It contained a figure wearing a new overalls with zipper and the vehicle itself was in correct proportions. The cabin was present, the roof could be opened too. This was the first 4w (4-wide, four-wide studs) police vehicle, which was in the style of the Town theme continued for many following years. Next police vans were completely different and this was the motto of the LEGO company. You will not find two of the same vehicle in Town theme in two sets. Clearly you can see the focus on quality rather than quantity. The second van was released in the LEGO-6684-1 set, where the vehicle on small wheels was available with gray motor. Two police officers patrolling the streets of the city. Next, in the 1986 year two police vans were released. The 6676-1: Mobile Command Unit set contained a truck with mobile crisis management together with two  barriers to block the road when its needed. The second van released in the same year included in LEGO-6450-1 set had special audio-visual features in the form of an audio signal and flashing lights on the roof. Big box with 9V battery took most of the trunk of the vehicle and left little space for additional accessories such as barriers or signal holders. 

The buildings

LEGO Classic
Police stations
Two police stations were released in the 80s. The first set of 6384-1: Police Station was released in 1983. It had a characteristic old-type antenna on the roof and I think it was quite successful set. The building was proportionate, had windows and doors. Garage with sectional doors opening up was probably quite an interesting novelty then. The motorcycle was already in a new form and in a rather unique gray color, which appeared only in sets from the early 80s. All police motorcycles released later were white. Helicopter in this set has still too wide tail, but at least it has a place for the pilot and openable cabin.
Next police building released in 1986 with 6386-1: Police Command Base set started the new police used for a long time in the following years. The building was in black and white colors and the windows had stickers with white stripes. Two white motorcycles were present, jeep in white-black colors and black helicopter. Although the helicopter did not have a new windscreen in the form of a dome, but at least the tail was in more affordable width of 1 thick stud. It presented quite interesting. The whole set in my opinion was very successful, and you can read more about it in the review of this set available at Clabrisic.

Remaining sets

LEGO Classic
Police vehicles from 80s
In addition to the van there were also smaller sets of police cars. The patrol car with a set of 6623-1: Police Car was very similar to the vehicle available in a 6384-1: Police Station set, but to keep the rule of difference the front of the vehicle was all white. Nevertheless, I believe that such a small sets with single vehicles are also very important even for promotional purposes. Not everyone can afford to buy a large set with the station, but when it comes to a small car, most parents can afford it and find out whether it is a good idea to buy something bigger. 6632-1: Tactical Patrol Truck set released in 1985 offered a small police vehicle with an open container in the back, where policeman could carry warning signs and a unique red signal holder. Another small vehicle was released in 1989 included 6506-1: Precinct Cruiser and it was the smallest police car available in the 80s.
LEGO Classic
Remaining police sets from the 80s
Small 6522-1: Highway Patrol set containing two policemen on motorcycles with telephone booth was released in 1987. This set complements the town scenery in quite interesting way. In the 80 cellular phones where not so common as it is now and the wired phone was the main method of communication. Therefore, it was important that at least one of such booth was available in the city to quickly contact the police. Helicopter in 6642-1: Police Helicopter set was released in 1988 as the first with new windscreen in the form of a dome.
LEGO Classic
Police boat
This project proved to be excellent and the windshield was present for a long time in the coming helicopters available in LEGO sets.
It is worth mentioning about the police boat, which appeared in the 80s included in LEGO-4010-1 set. This boat is not qualified for the Town theme and there is a good reason for it. Boats floating on the water with the fuselage in one piece are much larger than those available in Town theme, because it is designed to go under water. Boats in Town theme were built entirely out of bricks and were designed with the assumption that lower half of the hull was under water already. If you put ship from Town theme next to the floating on the water boat, then you will see how big the difference is. Floating boats are also very cool, but are not suitable for presentation on a flat surface or the next ordinary ships created entirely out of bricks.
In summary, it can be said that not many sets were released in one decade. However, bear in mind what I wrote earlier - LEGO designers put primarily on quality. In  the early 80s most of the sets where still disproportionate or vehicles had windows in the form of transparent bricks, but since 1982 a style of Town theme was finally determined along with patterns for the creation of vehicles, buildings, aircrafts or ships. At the end of the 80s many town sets were available and all had similar patterns, so joining them together in one big city was not a problem. It can be seen in many town presentations available in catalogs such as for example Retor Town.
Sufficient amount of police sets were available in Town theme also to ensure the order in the city. The scenery presented below is an evidence, where you can see most of the 80s police sets in one place.
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