Police officers' squad cars are put through a lot during regular shifts on the roadways. Whether these vehicles are being used for high-speed chases or routine day-to-day patrol driving, the wear and tear on police cruisers can happen quickly.

Departments vary on the amount of time they keep a squad car in service. Some law enforcement agencies replace vehicles every three years, while others will run a car into the ground until it gets to the point where it's unsafe to drive. Additionally, some cop cars are replaced once they reach a particular mileage, such as 50,000 or 75,000 miles.

But what happens to a police car in Colorado once a department retires it from service?

A former police officer shared that in many cases after an agency is finished with an older model vehicle, it will be sold off to the highest bidder at a public auction. When a cruiser goes to auction, its official logos, police insignia, and the red/blue light bar are removed. This prevents whoever purchases the vehicle from impersonating an officer. However, not all departments put efforts into disconnecting the other law enforcement accessories, like lights or sirens.

People enjoy owning a decommissioned police car because they are reliable and durable. Others just like the feeling of being mistaken for a real squad car. Some of the popular models that frequently double as police vehicles are Dodge Chargers, Dodge Durangos, and Ford Utility Interceptors. There are some pretty good deals out there for those on the market for a used patrol car.

In other cases, retired cop cars are returned to the original dealer for credit on a new car or shipped off to a company that refurbishes them.

Larimer County Sheriff's Public Information Officer Kate Kimble explained that once their vehicles are retired due to age or mileage, they are returned to the county Fleet Services department. Down the road, they may eventually be sold to other law enforcement agencies or at a public auction.

Departments replace older models with newer vehicles that are equipped with updated features and capabilities.

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