According to the regional Volksstimme newspaper, the officer in Magdeburg apparently believed that a license allowing him to drive a tractor and motorcycle sufficed for police cars too.
The 22-year veteran was discovered while trying to renew his certification recently, the newspaper reported.
A police spokesman explained that the officer had joined the force just before the reunification of Germany in 1990.
Because most police patrols in communist East Germany were done on foot, apparently no-one ever thought to check whether he had a proper licence, even when he began driving.
“Those were pretty wild times and it must have slipped through,” police spokesman Andreas von Koß told the Volksstimme.
The officer has been reassigned to office duty while administrative and criminal investigations are underway, von Koß said.
He is also said to have driven a private vehicle without a licence.