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Rules for police-car collectors: State agencies and private owners

Hello all and welcome to this first full installment of our column. There are a few things to discuss after roll call, so grab your seats and let’s get started with the briefing without further adieu.


If you read my article on The Very Basics of Police Car Collecting, you should remember the cautions I presented on some agencies having, well, a less than magnanimous attitude toward private ownership of representations of their vehicles. If you haven’t read the article yet, I’d recommend you do so. One of our goals in the coming year is to start developing a database of as many agencies as possible that fall into this category. This info will be available through the EVOOA web site ( as a public service to all collectors. We have no timeline as of yet for this to begin to be posted, though I will inform all of you here when that does occur.

In the meantime, here’s some pertinent info on the subject as currently known.

If any of you know of any verifiable (must be able to verify through the particular agency in question) info on any agency, state, county, or local, that we can put into our database, please let me know. We’ll need lots of help to complete this task. You should agree that this is an important mission, though.

dodge diplomat police cars

The following is an editorial comment by the author and does not reflect the opinions of, the EVOOA, or anyone else connected thereof. So, there.

Many collectors and enthusiasts look to eBay to try selling and obtaining items for a restoration. If you have been on the site over the last year or so, you should have noticed a lessening of certain emergency equipment items listed, primarily lights containing red and/or blue lens. The powers-to-be at eBay have developed a policy a while back banning law enforcement items being sold on their site and have shut down numerous auctions listing the same. This is the primary reason that many emergency lights are selling without the colored lens or just with amber.

You will likely say that you still see these items online. This is true. Many items still find their way to completion of the listing. When I had inquired to them a while back about this policy, I found out that they rely largely on individuals notifying them when these listings are seen. They state that they are not able to self police all of the auction listings. So, what this policy with the stated design of not empowering police impersonators by being able to purchase emergency and LE items on their site ends up with is having to rely on a public “rat squad” of sorts to be able to accomplish this to any degree.

What I find interesting is that there is a plethora of LE related items of all kinds all over the site, especially in the “collectables” categories. You cannot buy a red light by their edict, but there are sirens, gun belts, badges and holders, uniform supplies, etc. listed daily. Lights still get listed with regularity. An effective way to discourage impersonators? You tell me.

While I, and our Association abhor impersonators and will do whatever is necessary to help combat this, if you are going to develop a policy for your web site to discourage the same, do it correctly, not halfway. An ineffective “feel good” sales policy is not the answer to stopping impersonators. Personally, I think this policy by eBay is a waste with anyone being able to buy lights with ease through catalog sales such as Galls, various internet sites, even your neighborhood uniform shop or emergency products dealer. Unfortunately, any legislation making it much harder for would-be impersonators to obtain the tools of their trade will make it that much harder for legitimate civilian emergency vehicle restorers to do the same. Our counterparts in Colorado are finding this out now. There are no easy answers for this dilemma.

dodge monaco squad car

With the winter well upon us and our beloved copcars in hibernation in most parts of the country, we look to the spring to bring them back to life once again and as we also start anticipating the new show season. Here’s several great events already scheduled for this year.

As more scheduled shows and info come available, I’ll pass them along. Feel free to pass along to me schedules of shows of interest to emergency vehicle collectors in the US and Canada for reprint here.

police car collectors

That’s all for this briefing. Now, hit the streets and be careful out there. Be sure to start sending in those questions, comments, and requests. This column is for YOU and I really would like your input and feedback. Until next time, let’s keep saving those copcars!

Other columns

Introduction | The basics of police car collecting | Who are collectors? Why do we collect?

Emergency lighting | Sirens | Where to find retired police cars | Emergency vehicle shows | Investing in police cars

Restorations: Rules and regs for restorers | Do-it-yourself bodywork | Do-it-yourself mechanical work

Shows: Chicagoland Emergency Vehicles Show | Aquidneck Island Police Car Parade (2008 | 2009)

Also see the EVOOA home page

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