Retired Police Cars Worry A Mother

By Justin Foss, Reporter

CEDAR RAPIDS - Of all the cars on the AutoWorld lot, one is catching a lot of eyes.

"Basically, its just a Crowne Victoria painted black and white," said sales manager Jeff Rudnicki.

It happens to be a retired police car. And it is for sale. It doesn't have the lights on top, but a Cedar Rapids mother worries it still looks too much like a police car and could be a weapon for impersonators.

"They're very identifiable, and to a child that might not know any better, or right from wrong, something bad could easily happen," said Angela Fletcher.

The concern is the used car could be used to impersonate a police officer.

It's a timely concern.

Just this month, Vinton police say 58-year-old William Reese tried to use a sheriff's patrol car to pull over people, even though, as a jailer, he's not authorized to do so.

When police departments sell these, they take off the lights, the cage in back and all of the electronics.

But, they don't repaint them or take off the spotlight.

"It really creeps me out that these cars are driving around and still have spotlights on. If they're going to strip them down, take the spot light off," said Fletcher.

Even though this particular car was bought in Chicago, it hits close to home because the paint job happens to match the Cedar Rapids police department.

The dealership said police cars have a lot of appeal.

"It's got beefed up brakes, rotors, a heavier alternator," said Rudnicki.

He said most cars like this are bought by security companies, or people looking for a well maintained ride. "There is a big market. Maybe not so much in Cedar Rapids, but in surrounding areas, Des Moines, we have a lot of people that travel here just for these cars."

Fletcher just wishes these old police cars didn't look so new.

It is illegal to impersonate an officer. Police say that includes things like adding certain red lights to your car.

Email Justin Foss at Justin.Foss@kcrg.com
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