Modern law enforcement agencies throughout the United States use nearly every make and model of vehicle for undercover or unmarked police units. These unmarked units can be very difficult to identify due to advances in law enforcement technology. While difficult to identify, there are unique features that can assist you in determining if a vehicle is an unmarked police unit or just another ordinary car.
- Skill level:
- Moderately Easy
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Look for two-way radio antennas, as most police units will have some type of communication radio installed. Tall antennas mounted on the top or on the rear of the vehicle are strong indicators; however, many new law enforcement units use smaller antennas that are less obvious. These antennas may range in size from a few inches to several feet depending on the radio and the terrain of the area.
Observe the back of the vehicle to determine if it has a government tag. While government tags on an unmarked police unit are unlikely, it may still be a possibility due to circumstance or the police department's policies. If the vehicle has regular tags, look at the date on the registration sticker, as many undercover police will use old and unregistered tags for undercover operations.
Look over the vehicle for emergency lighting equipment, as most police departments require all vehicles used in law enforcement related duties to be equipped with some type of emergency lights. These lights will typically be located in the vehicle's front grill, rear window or front dash. Take notice of anything mounted on the vehicle that does not appear to be factory installed, as newer types of lighting equipment are designed to go unnoticed.
Tips and warnings
- Avoid violating local, state and federal laws. Attempting to identify an unmarked police unit should be done only for novelty purposes and without criminal intent.
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