Laws for driving ex-police vehicles

Written by troy thompson
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Laws for driving ex-police vehicles
Light bars and sirens common in police vehicles and ambulances are reserved only for emergency vehicles and cannot be present in private vehicles. (police lights close up image by Matt K from Fotolia.com)

When police vehicles are replaced with newer models, police departments will typically put them up for auction. Laws regarding former police and public service vehicles vary by jurisdiction, but there are some common, albeit not universal, practices. Most of these practices may not be a concern of the buyer, however, as police departments generally will take care of them before selling.

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Markings

All decals and markings relating to a police department must, in most cases, be removed from the vehicle. If these decals and markings are still present, it can contravene laws prohibiting the impersonation of police officers.

Light Bars and Sirens

The light bar and siren must typically be removed. In most jurisdictions, the light bars and sirens common in police vehicles and ambulances are reserved only for emergency vehicles and cannot be present in private vehicles.

Computers and Communication Equipment

Most police vehicles that are in service will have a police computer on board. This must be removed before the vehicle may be used as a private vehicle, as the computer falling into the wrong hands can result in unauthorised access to confidential information. The same applies to police radios.

Spotlights, Push Bars and Rear Seat Cages

A less common practice by police departments that have sufficient revenue, such as the King County, Washington, Sheriff's Department and the Seattle Police Department, is to remove the spotlights, push bars and rear seat cages. This is done to further reduce the chances of the retired police vehicle being mistaken for an active one.

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