How Do Police Auctions Work in Alberta?


Police auctions play a significant role in Alberta, offering a unique opportunity for both the police and the public. In this article, we aim to provide a comprehensive understanding of how police auctions work in Alberta, shedding light on the process, regulations, and tips for participating.

Overview of Police Auctions

A police auction is a specialized type of auction where items that have been seized, abandoned, or are surplus to police departments are sold to the highest bidder. Unlike regular auctions, police auctions exclusively feature items that have some connection to law enforcement activities. These auctions serve multiple purposes, including clearing out police storage facilities, generating revenue for law enforcement agencies, and providing the public with a chance to purchase items at a fraction of their market value.

Types of Items Sold at Police Auctions

Police auctions in Alberta offer a wide range of items for sale. Some of the most common items include:

  • Vehicles such as cars, motorcycles, and boats
  • Electronics like phones, laptops, and cameras
  • Jewelry and watches
  • Tools and equipment
  • Firearms and ammunition
  • Miscellaneous items like clothing and furniture

The variety of items ensures that there is something for everyone, whether they are looking for practical items or unique collectibles.

How Items are Acquired for Police Auctions

There are plenty of bargains at police auctions in Alberta. The items are acquired through various means. One common source is seizures from criminal activities. When law enforcement agencies confiscate items from the legal owner during investigations or arrests, these items may eventually find their way to police auctions. Additionally, abandoned or unclaimed property that has been in police custody for a certain period can also be included in these auctions. Furthermore, surplus items from police departments, such as outdated equipment or vehicles, are often sold to the public through auctions.

Process of Auctioning Items

The process of auctioning items at police auctions follows a well-defined set of steps:

  1. The items are inventoried and appraised to determine their value.
  2. Starting bids and reserve prices are then set based on these appraisals.
  3. The auction is advertised through various channels, including local police department websites, online auction platforms, and auction houses specializing in police auctions.
  4. The auction itself can take place either in-person or online, allowing bidders to participate from anywhere.
  5. Once the auction concludes, successful bidders are required to make payment and are issued receipts.
  6. Ownership of the sold items is then transferred to the buyers.

Regulations and Legal Considerations

Police auctions in Alberta are governed by a legal framework that ensures transparency and fairness for the original owner of the property. Relevant legislation and regulations determine the requirements for conducting auctions, including licensing and registration for auctioneers. The rules for bidding and purchasing items are also established to protect the interests of both buyers and sellers. It is important for participants to familiarize themselves with these regulations to ensure a smooth and lawful auction experience.

Tips for Participating in Police Auctions

For people that are interested in participating in police auctions, there are several tips to keep in mind:

  • Research the items and their market value beforehand to make informed bidding decisions.
  • Understand the auction process and rules, including any applicable fees.
  • Set a budget and stick to it to prevent overspending.
  • Thoroughly inspect the items before placing a bid to assess their condition and potential value.
  • Be aware of any potential risks or limitations associated with purchasing items at police auctions.

For more useful tips, we recommend checking out our guides covering storage auctions and online auctions in Alberta.

Where to Find Police Auctions in Alberta

There are several sources where individuals can find information about police auctions in Alberta. This overview of Government Surplus Sales from the Government of Alberta is a great place to start. For those looking to purchase items at police auctions in the Calgary or Edmonton area specifically, there are several options available.

Police Auctions in Calgary

In Calgary, you can find police auctions primarily through the Calgary Parking Authority and the City of Calgary. The Calgary Parking Authority holds unclaimed vehicle auctions each month, which are now conducted online at Regal Auctions. You can find the auction dates on the Calgary Parking Authority website.

The city of Calgary also holds surplus sales and public auctions for various items, including bicycles, office equipment, fire equipment, industrial equipment, machinery, and more. You can find information about these auctions and view the surplus sales catalogue on the city of Calgary website.

Keep in mind that vehicles and items sold at these auctions may not be in perfect condition, so it’s essential to review the details and conditions before bidding.

Police Auctions in Edmonton

The Edmonton Police Service also auctions off unclaimed personal property, and vehicles seized by the police through an auction company called Michener Allen Auctioneering.

The city of Edmonton also sells surplus vehicles, equipment, tools, furniture, and sundries by public auction. City-owned vehicles and heavy equipment, as well as police-seized vehicles, unclaimed articles, and bicycles.

Payment and Collection

Once a bidder has successfully won an item at a police auction in Alberta, they will be required to make payment within a specified timeframe. Accepted payment methods may vary, but commonly include cash, credit cards, and certified checks. It is important to be aware of any applicable fees, such as buyer’s premiums or taxes. After payment is made, buyers must arrange for the collection of their purchased items. It is crucial to consider the size and weight of the item and plan for transportation accordingly, especially for larger items like vehicles or furniture.


Police auctions in Alberta offer a unique opportunity for both buyers and sellers. By understanding how these auctions work, individuals can take advantage of the wide range of items available at discounted prices. Whether it’s acquiring a new vehicle, electronics, or unique collectibles, police auctions provide a platform for the public to participate in a transparent and regulated auction process. By following the tips provided and exploring the various sources for finding police auctions in Alberta, readers can make informed decisions and maximize their experience in this exciting world of auctions.

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Graham Auctions

The team at Graham Auctions is led by folks with over 25 years of experience in the auction industry. We aim to share our expertise to help those who are new to online auctions as well as ignite thought-provoking discussions with experienced bidders.

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