What, drive around in an ex-police car? If the thought is not quite comfortable with you, you might want to reconsider. Used police cars are actually a great choice if you want to buy cheap. If you choose well, you could get one that's well-maintained with a repair record or logbook which is probably more complete and accurate than anything you yourself have for your old reliable. Better yet, used police cars can be bought at a fraction of their value.
What to look for:
Check where the car was originally from. Most city police cars have had a tough run, while some police cars from the country may have less wear and tear. This is not a general rule, but it may be helpful.
Check for equipment that have been added or removed. It's a used police car, so expect stuff like sirens, lights, cages, gun mounts, antennas, spot lights and the like. The unit could have holes in the trunk and roof because of these. Some used police cars also have rear side windows and rear door locks that do not work – not a bad thing, but some family members or friends might find it annoying.
Speaking of sirens and lights, do not be too ecstatic about getting them on your car. Some states prohibit possession of police sirens and lights, so it's best to check with your municipality about laws and regulations concerning them. Also, removing these equipment will mean some wiring concerns and yes, holes on your unit.
Used police cars usually have rubber floors. Great if you find one with carpeting so you get more buffer from noise and heat. Check also if the car was used as a K9 unit. Yep, you have to know this. Sometimes no amount of Glade can do away with the nasty dog smell and it's just not cool driving a nice car that smells like a dog house.
Another concern would have been the color of the car. Most used police cars in the auction lot are black or white or a combination of both. And then there are the blues, silvers, grays and tans, or some other color, depending on which government agency used it. If you bought one with some damage on the body, you might have a difficulty matching the color, even if you get the paint custom mixed. Also, black and white combination cars are illegal in some states.
Try to check for the average mileage in the used police car lot. If you find one with a really low mileage, you might think you've hit the jackpot, but be wary. No matter how rich you think your state is, a police agency just does not put up its used cars for auction for no reason. One risk of a low-mileage used police car is that it could have been involved in an accident, so it's best to check its background.
Just for your own security, subscribe to CarFax so you can check the history of the cars you are interested in, especially mileage noted during state inspections and any accidents that they may have been involved in. However, not all used police cars involved in accidents are reported to an insurance company, which means you may not find an accident report with CarFax.
The best thing to do is check the title to see if it's been salvaged and how many times the car has changed hands. Ask a knowledgeable friend or a mechanic to help you in your decision before you conclude the deal. Ask for a copy of a repair report and records so you can see the exact damage the car sustained, when it was repaired, the name of the shop who did the repairs and the list of parts that have been replaced.
No matter what car dealers tell you, there is no such thing as a premium or deluxe used police car package. Whether they've been driven by regular policemen or top brass officers, it's really up to you to decide on your own if that used police car is a good buy.